GENEROUS people across Fenland have guaranteed smiles on the faces of youngsters this Christmas with their amazing support for a toy appeal.
The Citizen teamed up with Wisbech-based Co-operative Travel to ask for donations of toys for the annual Santa’s Suitcase Appeal.
For the last five years the gifts have rolled in with all the toys donated going to the Salvation Army, who in turn pass them on to Fenland Support who distribute them to less fortunate children including those in care homes across the district.
This year supermarket giant Tesco came on board acting as collection points in both their stores in Wisbech and March.
The Wisbech store also donated £500 worth of gift vouchers to be spent on buying toys and other gifts for the youngsters who range in age from birth to teenagers.
Other organisations including the Asda store at Wisbech also got involved collecting toys to pass on to the Salvation Army.
And this year, despite the economic gloom, the fantastic people of Fenland have rallied to the cause and have given generously - especially as the 2012 appeal was for new toys only because of health and safety regulations.
Everything from colouring pencils to board games, dolls, Teddy bears, cars and toiletries have flooded in.
“We were a bit worried that the stipulation for new toys only might put people off but it doesn’t appear to have had an affect and once again we are amazed at the response,” said Major Rob Smart, of Wisbech Salvation Army.
He explained the toys will be distributed to more than 200 children in need in this area and he added: “I would like to thank everyone who has donated. I’m sure the children will love to receive the gifts.”
Harriet Secker, assistant manager of Co-operative Travel based at Beales department store, said they were also amazed at people’s generosity. She said some customers had simply made a cash donation which had been spent in the store’s toy department.
There had also been a steady flow of toys and toiletries from generous members of the public.
“I’m sure the toys and other gifts are going to put a smile of the faces of dozens of children on Christmas morning,” added Major Smart.