Thank-you letters show how your help in Northampton toy appeal made Christmas special for hundreds of families

The generous people of Northampton really made a difference last Christmas - and here are the thank you letters to prove it.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 10:23 am
These toys and gifts made such a difference for Northamptonshire's children last year - and we have the thank you letters to prove it.

Last year, the Chronicle & Echo's readers made all the difference for thousands of children across the county.

Your response to our toy appeal was overwhelming. Residents donated over 1,500 gifts so that struggling families across Northamptonshire could give their children something to open on December 25.

It was an incredible effort - and the appeal's organiser, Jeanette Walsh, says it did not go unrecognised.

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Jeanette Walsh, aka Mother Christmas, has launched her toy appeal with the Northampton Chronicle and Echo.

After the appeal, Jeanette received dozens of thank you letters for Northamptonshire's children and parents to show how the appeal made their Christmas.

Now, Jeanette wants to share these notes with the Chron's readers to show how they can make a difference.

The letters are filled with stories of how last year's presents made a difference. There were foster children who were able to share some much-needed laughter with their carers. There were teenage mothers on low income who could give their toddlers a present. There were young families who, because of the donated gifts, could focus on feeding themselves and not worry about how their children would have nothing to open on December 25.

One such note came from an 11-year-old boy after he unwrapped a stretching muscle man toy on the big day. It reads: "You made my Christmas. Thank you for such a thoughtful gift."

Another note, from a 15-year-old teenager who received a deodorant set, reads: "I was never expecting to get a gift from you, it was so thoughtful of you to think of me this Christmas."

All gifts donated to the appeal are sent out to children and families across Northamptonshire through the county council's social worker teams.

But it's not just children who wrote back to Jeanette. Many parents were also happy they had something to give their children on the big day.

One note reads: "One of my little girls received a bike. Without the presents she would not have had very much.

"Her brother received a bike last year and they will be able to go to the park together now on their bikes and spend some quality family time together."

One social worker said: "I have given some baby clothes to two of my young girls who are expecting. They did not expect this and were overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the clothing as they are both on low incomes and it has helped them to build up their baby’s wardrobe."

How can you help our Christmas Toy Appeal:

- All donations for the appeal can be handed in at either of Northampton’s Good Loaf Cafes in the All Saints Church or in Overstone Road.

- The appeal closes on Monday, December 16.

- All gifts must be brand new and not second-hand.

- Think of the teenagers! While gifts of all ages are welcome, consider donating something for Northamptonshire's young people who would prefer something more mature over toys.

Jeanette Walsh - better known as Mother Christmas - said: "The people of Northampton made such a big difference in young people’s lives last year,” says former social worker Jeanette Walsh, AKA Mother Christmas, whose toy appeals have helped more than 10,000 families across the county since 2002.

“It meant so much for young people last year – let’s see if we can do it again. There are 5,500 kids across the county who might not get much this year – if we beat last year’s tremendous effort we can help so many.”