Final push for the Daily Echo Toy Appeal's 3,000-gift target

Daily Echo: The choir from Mason Moor Primary School, Millbrook, with Mayor of Southampton Cllr Ivan White, left, and TV presenter Fred Dinenage, standing back right, at the launch of the Daily Echo-backed Toy Appeal. The choir from Mason Moor Primary School, Millbrook, with Mayor of Southampton Cllr Ivan White, left, and TV presenter Fred Dinenage, standing back right, at the launch of the Daily Echo-backed Toy Appeal.

THE countdown for Christmas has already begun.

But thousands of Southampton’s poorest children could be waking up on Christmas Day with nothing beneath the tree.

That’s why Southampton Voluntary Services (SVS) has launched the 34th Daily Echo-backed annual Toy Appeal, which will make sure the city’s vulnerable children have at least one present to look forward to this Christmas.

Daily Echo columnist and TV presenter Fred Dinenage and youngsters from the Mason Moor Primary School choir were at the Mayor’s Parlour to help launch the appeal.

SVS have already collected 2,600 toys from businesses, schools, colleges and individuals, including 20 gifts donated by the Daily Echo.

But they still need 400 more gifts to make sure that none of the youngsters on their list is left out.

Jacqui Honeywell, the Toy Appeal co-ordinator at SVS, said: “People in Southampton, businesses and organisations have been very generous but we could do with a few more people to come forward.

“It helps families avoid getting into debt or more debt and to see a child’s smile on Christmas Day can make a family’s Christmas.

“The parents can stop worrying, panicking, knowing that there are gifts under their tree for their children.”

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The Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Ivan White, said: “I would like to thank the Daily Echo for its support.

“I just give it my support to encourage people to give presents for children who probably have next to nothing particularly at this time of year.

“I think it is the mayor’s prime job to support the community and to say thanks to the people for the city. It’s a small word but it means a lot to people.”

Mike Treasure Jones, vice-chairman of SVS, said: “SVS would like to thank the Daily Echo for their wonderful past support which has avoided funds being withdrawn from both family projects and young carers in recent years.

“It’s key to these deserving families because Christmas is a very tough time when you have no finances and poor health.”

To help SVS collect enough toys, request a gift tag which will have the first name, age and sex of one of Southampton’s 3,000 children in need and buy and wrap a suitable gift to the value of £10.

Gifts should be sent to the SVS office in Kingsland Square, St Mary Street by December 10 so that they can be distributed to families in time for Christmas.

For more information or to help, call Jacqui Honeywell on 023 8021 6041.

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