Show some Christmas spirit for the Echo’s annual toy appeal

Marie Groody from Hope4Kidz with Rob Fraser (left) and Steve Carter from Sainsburys launching this year's Echo Toy Appeal.

Marie Groody from Hope4Kidz with Rob Fraser (left) and Steve Carter from Sainsburys launching this year's Echo Toy Appeal.

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Echo readers are once again being asked to show the Christmas spirit and help the poorest and loneliest in our community by donating to our Toy Appeal.

This year the appeal has again teamed-up with Hope4Kidz, a Wearside-based charity which helps disadvantaged and special needs children across the region.

Toys N Tins Appeal 2014

Toys N Tins Appeal 2014

Children from Sunningdale School helped to get the appeal started by asking you to donate toys and selection boxes to be distributed to hospitals, children’s services, women’s refuges and special needs units around the North East.

Last year, 3,224 children’s gifts were delivered with a value of £17,345, thanks to your generosity.

Hope4Kidz is also inviting disadvantaged and special needs youngsters across the North East to a free Christmas party at Illusions nightclub in Sunderland on Sunday, December 6.

Almost 400 youngsters, all of whom are struggling to overcome long-term illness, disability and other problems such as poverty and abuse, and their families attended the party last year.

The Christmas party in 2014

The Christmas party in 2014

The free event is designed to give party-goers and their families a chance to escape their problems and enjoy an afternoon of entertainment from a balloon artist, magician, face painters and bouncy castle as well as dancing and party games. Santa will also make sure every child receives a selection box before they head home.

Viv Watts, of Hope4Kidz, said: “Santa’s Christmas party is one of the most popular events of the year because it gives the children something to look forward to and a chance to escape their circumstances.”

Anyone wishing to donate to our appeal can do so at one of our designated collections points: Morrisons in Doxford Park and Seaburn; Asda Ryhope; Tesco The Bridges; Virgin Money Fawcett Street and Hope4 Kidz Office in Pennywell. From Tuesday, December 1, you will also be able to donate gifts at Sainsbury’s Silksworth, Wessington Way and Washington. The last day for donations will be Friday, December 18.

John Lister, Virgin Money store manager, said: “We are collecting selection boxes on behalf of Hope4Kidz. They play such an important part in our community and do a lot of good for children who need it. You don’t have to be a customer to donate, just pop in.”

Viv Watts, chief executive of Hope 4 Kidz with Illusions nightclub owner Michael Downey and manager Mark Hepton with pupils.

Viv Watts, chief executive of Hope 4 Kidz with Illusions nightclub owner Michael Downey and manager Mark Hepton with pupils.

Viv added: “We are extremely grateful to Illusions Club for once again sponsoring the party by donating the use of the club, providing the staff and the DJ and to the public and businesses who continue to support our Christmas appeal.”

For further information about Hope4Kidz, Santa’s Christmas Party application form or to have a Christmas delivery for your unit or charity, call the charity direct on 0191 534 7788, email vivien.watts@hope4kidz.org.uk or log on to www.hope4kidz.org.uk.

The launch of the Christmas Toy Appeal

The launch of the Christmas Toy Appeal

The launch.

The launch.