Star readers help to save Christmas for more than 21,000 children

More than 21,000 children in South Yorkshire will wake up tomorrow to see that Father Christmas has been – thanks to readers of The Star.

Christmas Toy appeal success at The Star reception desk, Elaine Dinc, Debbie Ogden and Christine Ball
Christmas Toy appeal success at The Star reception desk, Elaine Dinc, Debbie Ogden and Christine Ball

In a record-breaking year, more toys and gifts than ever have been donated to The Star-backed Hallam FM Cash For Kids Mission Christmas appeal.

Generous readers and radio listeners have donated presents, from baby items to teenage gifts, to put smiles on the faces of 21,206 children who would normally receive nothing on Christmas morning.

Allan Ogle and Wednesday players with some of the toys collected for the Mission Christmas campaign

The Star had a collection point in its reception, with kind people donating gifts including cuddly toys, dolls, games and beauty sets for teenagers.

Teams at The Star offices on York Street also collected items, along with other offices, retailers and shopping centres across the city.

James Mitchinson, editor of The Star, said: “A big thank you to readers of The Star for being so generous and helping support such a worthwhile appeal.

“It was amazing to see our reception filled with toys for children that would normally receive nothing.”

The mission urged people to buy one extra gift and donate it to the appeal, to ensure every child in need receives a gift.

The appeal has seen a substantial growth this year, with the increased costs of living, welfare reform and a delicate employment market meaning more families than ever are now living in poverty.

Last year, more than 17,000 children benefited from Mission Christmas gifts and the South Yorkshire charity, which has supported more than 50 different causes since 2014, are delighted with the outcome.

Allan Ogle, Cash for Kids charity manager, said: “Our Mission Christmas campaign has touched everyone as it’s a horrible feeling knowing a child that lives near you will wake up on Christmas morning with nothing.

“Mission Christmas provides everyone with an opportunity to make a huge difference to a child’s life just by buying a gift to give them a memory to cherish.

“I’ve had children themselves visit us with their parents and grandparents, rallying round their schools and buying gifts with their own pocket money. I’m completely overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who donated across South Yorkshire.

“We also owe a huge thanks to our sponsors, supporters and more importantly to the hundreds of volunteers who made all this become possible.”

Sponsors – Morfitt Smith, Mike Brewer Motors, Brook Bakery, Global Windows, Foy’s Solicitors, Frenchgate, UK Christmas World and Foresters – all acted as collection points and held fundraising events which included a football match, a bake sale and Christmas Jumper Days, with some staff also volunteering in the operation.

Rail operator First TransPennine Express has taken part by encouraging staff to buy one extra gift this Christmas and donate it to the appeal.

The FTPE choir have also raised funds by singing at Manchester Airport railwaystation before boarding a specially decorated Christmas train and singing all the way to Huddersfield before performing there.