Launch of the festive toy appeal at Gaywood’s Tesco store. Back left, Karina Russell, Tesco community champion, Simon Rowe, Gary Bush, YLP’s operations manager, Chris Dewey, Nicola Firth, director of WGA. Front, Natalie Copeland, YLP chief reporter, Kyle Ringer, store manager, and Sue Irving, YLP editor. Picture: Ian Burt

As the Christmas countdown begins and we try to tick off those important gifts on wish lists to Santa, please spare a thought for families in West Norfolk who are less fortunate.

In a bid to spread some festive cheer in these difficult times, Your Local Paper has again teamed-up with Radio West Norfolk to spearhead our second festive toy/gift appeal.

Last year, we managed to bring big smiles to so many faces when we asked readers to buy an extra toy with their weekly shop.

The appeal surpassed all our expectations as generous readers and listeners donated an incredible £25,000 worth of toys which were distributed to around 40 grateful local charities and organisations.

Christmas is a magical time for children and we want to make sure this year is no different, especially after last year’s festive lockdown.

It can be hard enough for some families to give their children the sort of Christmas many of us take for granted and with the extra pressure of the pandemic and many people suffering hardship, it is even more important to help others.

From Saturday, December 4 to Friday, December 17, you can donate a toy at a number of businesses across West Norfolk supporting our appeal.

Appeal trolleys will be at Asda in South Wootton, Morrisons stores at Fakenham, Downham Market and King’s Lynn, Tesco at Gaywood, Wilko and Sainsbury’s in Lynn town centre, and Sunlounger Travel in Lynn’s Vancouver Quarter.

We need toys suitable for boys and girls from birth to 18 years. These will be collected and delivered in time for Christmas through a broad range of West Norfolk charities and organisations.

This year West Norfolk legal firm Ward Gethin Archer (WGA) has come on board as a sponsor and Radio West Norfolk’s Simon Rowe said: “Ward Gethin always looks to support the community. I have worked with them before on toy appeals and they were more than happy to be part of this appeal. They see the difference it makes to families and children.”

Chris Dewey, managing director at WGA, said: “As a firm, we are committed to helping the local community and this is a great opportunity for our staff to get involved in community activities and for local children in need to gain.”

In urging people to support the appeal, Mr Rowe, who has organised a toy appeal for more than 10 years, added: “It’s just an amazing appeal to be part of, the receiving, collecting, delivering and I would love you to find the time to put a toy in our trolley for someone you may never meet.”

YLP managing director Alan Taylor said: “We could not be happier to announce that Your Local Paper has teamed-up with Radio West Norfolk for another Christmas Toy Appeal and this year, we are also delighted to announce that Ward Gethin Archer has joined us as a sponsor.

“Last year the generosity from our readers, RWN listeners and shoppers was unprecedented with a record-breaking amount of toys donated at around £25,000 in value. This year we hope to smash that.

“We would urge everyone if they can and are able, to please donate a toy and help raise a smile on the face of someone less fortunate.

“If you are able to donate a new toy for our joint toy appeal, you will help raise a smile for those in need.”

The toys will be distributed through charities and organisations including the Pandora Project in Lynn which helps women and children who have been victims of domestic abuse, The Bridge For Heroes veteran’s charity, Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, the Salvation Army, Freebridge Community Housing, North Lynn-based Scotty’s Little Soldiers charity for bereaved armed forces children, Mencap, Broadland Housing Association, Break, the Purfleet Trust, King’s Lynn Foodbank, Young Carers and the Ferry Project in Wisbech to name a few.

Mr Rowe and representatives from YLP and WGA also hope to be at some of the supermarket drop-off points during the second week of the appeal. 

Keep up-to-date with the donation drop-off points by checking next week’s YLP, listening to Radio West Norfolk and by reading our posts on Facebook.