Final countdown as Gazette’s Toy Appeal gathers pace

This Is Wiltshire: Jonathan Conning with some of the toys dropped off at Henry George      (TK699) By THOMAS KELSEY Jonathan Conning with some of the toys dropped off at Henry George (TK699) By THOMAS KELSEY

Readers have just a week left to donate to the Gazette & Herald’s Christmas Toy Appeal which will ensure needy children receive presents to open on Christmas Day.

The donation deadline is December 19 after which toys will be distributed by volunteers from the Chippenham Salvation Army to families identified by social services.

Toys can be dropped off at several collection points, including estate agents Henry George in Kingsbury Street, Marlborough.

Director Jonathan Conning said staff had been helping the toy appeal for more than two years.

He said: “We used to have the Gazette & Herald office just up the road from us.

“When we sold it [on behalf of the Gazette] and there was nowhere in Marlborough to take the toys, we were asked to do it and we were delighted to help.

“We get a lot of people in of all ages. We are in hard times and to see people going the extra mile and bringing in toys is heart-warming.

“This tends to be our quiet time of year, although it isn’t this year, and when we see people coming through the door we think, ‘oh good, a client’. Then they say, ‘no, we’re just here for the toy appeal’, but we’re not disappointed because it’s such a lovely thing to do.”

Captain Lisa Goble, from the Salvation Army, said: “It’s going very well.

“We’re getting requests from social services and other centres so we’re going to be making up parcels this week and next week.

“Once we’re in the middle of it, it’s all hands on deck.

“It’s very busy because we have quite a short turnaround time. We’ve got to allocate who gets what for each age group and whether they are male or female, and we’ve got to get them out for the families.

“It will be manic but it’s worth it knowing the kids are going to get a toy on Christmas Day.”

We are looking for new toys across all ages, from puzzles to books and gift sets. Please do not wrap toys, but bring them in a box or bag.

To help, call the Salvation Army on (01249) 655458.

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