Toy bank drive helps hundreds

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A campaign to provide a Christmas present to children who would have otherwise gone without was met with an ‘overwhelming’ response.

Mum-of-one Heather Nicholls, 35, from Skegness, set up the toy bank after hearing from friends who work in the care sector that many youngsters would not have a present to open on Christmas Day.

After making some inquiries, she got the details of almost 300 children who would benefit from the appeal.

A group of friends then set about making tags to hang on Christmas trees in Skegness businesses, tags that corresponded with one of the children.

“People then took these tags and bought a gift for a specific child, with guidance such as ‘a girl of three’, ‘a boy of six months’, or ‘a baby of six to eight months’.

The campaign was launched in the Standard in September.

Donated items included Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation game consoles, DVDs, and games; all pieces were new.

“The response was overwhelming,” said Heather. “The tags were all over Skegness and the local community took the tags and bought the most amazing gifts.”

She added: “They really went out of their way to buy such special presents.”

Presents have been delivered to families in Skegness through the Sure Start organisation, to the children’s ward of Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital, and Women’s Refuge groups in Louth and Grimsby.

Heather added: “This has been a fantastic achievement for everyone involved.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response from the local community, who have made a difference to lots of children’s Christmas Day.”

Such was the success of this campaign, Heather says she plans for it to return next year.