Big thanks to Sunderland Echo readers after toy appeal

(Toy Appeal) Young mums at B2B, The Place, Hendon.

(Toy Appeal) Young mums at B2B, The Place, Hendon.

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IT has been the best ever – all thanks to YOU.

We feared that the continuing tough economic times might affect this year’s Toy Appeal, but we couldn’t have been more wrong.

Eileen Watson and her staff at the Asda depot on Pattinson Industrial estate, collecting for the Toy Appeal.

Eileen Watson and her staff at the Asda depot on Pattinson Industrial estate, collecting for the Toy Appeal.

The harder things get, the more Echo readers give.

Thousands of toys and gifts flowed into checkpoints around the city, and each one will now go to a child in need.

Acting editor Richard Ord said: “We are rarely surprised by the generosity of Echo readers, but this year they have surpassed themselves.

“At the Echo alone we have had an avalanche of toy donations, and it is a scene which has been repeated at our collection points throughout the city.

Champion fundraiser Julie Reay (centre) with her daughter Vicky Lane, and General Assistant Aly Hammond  (left) show some of the toys in Sainsbury's at  Silksworth Lane, Sunderland, bought with the hundreds of pounds donated by Julie.

Champion fundraiser Julie Reay (centre) with her daughter Vicky Lane, and General Assistant Aly Hammond (left) show some of the toys in Sainsbury's at Silksworth Lane, Sunderland, bought with the hundreds of pounds donated by Julie.

“Given the tough economic times we find ourselves in, it is astonishing that Wearsiders can find that extra money to make these donations, which, in total, will cost thousands, if not tens of thousands of pounds. But make them you do and we are eternally grateful.

“You cannot put a price on what these donations will mean for the children and the families who benefit.

“Once again, our community has united and shown it has a heart few can hope to match.”

Everything collected by the appeal goes to Wearside Women in Need, a refuge for families and individuals escaping abuse; B2B+, a Hendon-based project for young parents and their children; and the George Hudson Charity and Sunderland Orphanage and Educational Foundation.

Staff from The Gateway at Sunderland University, Sandra McLuckie, Kelly Foale, Liam Guest and Adam O'neill with the toys collected for the Sunderland Echo's Toy appeal.

Staff from The Gateway at Sunderland University, Sandra McLuckie, Kelly Foale, Liam Guest and Adam O'neill with the toys collected for the Sunderland Echo's Toy appeal.

Clare Phillipson, director of Wearside Women in Need, said: “It’s better again this year.

“It just gets bigger and bigger as the public become more and more generous.

“We’ve been inundated and people have been turning up all day every day to hand in gifts.

“We worry every year that people won’t be able to afford to give and then we get buried under and avalanche of toys.

“Factories, shops, individuals, churches and schools have all donated.

“So many people have found the time to care and give to those who are struggling.

“It truly is the proper spirit of Christmas.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone who has given to all the people and children we work with.

“Some could have been sitting with nothing on Christmas day, no heating or food, but now we can make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Dolls, games, clothes, food, beautiful hand-knitted baby clothes, gifts for teenagers, newborns and mums were all gifted to the appeal.

Lesley Haugh from B2B+ said: “On behalf of the children and families who have benefitted from this year’s Toy Appeal, B2b staff would like to say a huge thank you to the generous people of Sunderland who have kindly donated toys and presents.

“As always, their kindness is greatly appreciated. Best Wishes to you all.”

Twitter: @sunderlandecho