The County You Live, Work And Play
Actor Helps Launch Toy Appeal
Pictured from back left are Patrick Rolink of Spirit Aid, Advertiser editor Graham Miller, social work manager Raymond Taylor, David Hayman, Iain Strefford of Spirit Aid, Round Table representative Gordon Millar and supermarket representatives Ann Binks, Lee Green, Liz Wilkie and Sandra Purkiss.
The Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser toy appeal for 2015 has been launched with an extra sprinkling of stardust as generous Monklands residents are asked to help spread festive cheer with their donations.
Actor and director David Hayman, the founder of humanitarian charity Spirit Aid, joined representatives from participating Airdrie and Coatbridge supermarkets and charities as the third annual appeal gets underway.
The paper are asking readers to donate new, unused gifts for children aged up to 16, which will be distributed to underprivileged youngsters across Monklands to make it a merry Christmas.
Items can be handed in to the four collection points – Morrisons in Airdrie, Asda in Coatbridge and the Tesco branches in both towns – from today until Wednesday, December 16.
They will then be distributed by volunteer elves from Airdrie and Coatbridge Round Table and Spirit Aid, as well as workers from North Lanarkshire’s social work department.
Mr Hayman said: “Everyone’s really looking forward to being involved – the toy appeal is a great cause and people’s generosity is fantastic.”
The Christmas toy appeal was first launched in 2013, and an amazing 2700 gifts have been donated during the past two festive seasons.
Morrisons manager Gary McEwan, whose store was the first to be involved in the appeal in its inaugural year, said: “It’s really close to my heart – it’s an absolutely fantastic amount which has been collected, and would total tens of thousands of pounds in value.
“The toy appeal is such a worthwhile cause and the customers are great. They’re so generous when it comes to supporting youngsters in Airdrie and Coatbridge and putting a smile on their faces.”
Asda community champion Ann Binks agreed: “People are great and are happy to ask for suggestions and even buy specific gifts for older children too, as the appeal is about all ages.
“It was a great success last year and we’ll be shouting about it even more for 2015.”
Staff of both Tesco branches in Monklands, at Airdrie retail park and at Faraday retail park in Coatbridge, are getting their collection points ready and are looking forward to collecting donations.
Last year’s supporters included Airdrie fans, who held a toy collection drive at New Broomfield, and staff and residents at the new Calderwood Village development in Coatbridge.
The gifts will again be distributed by organisations including Airdrie and Coatbridge Round Table, whose members team up with local good causes including Monklands Women’s Aid to make sure the donations reach deserving youngsters across Airdrie and Coatbridge.
Group chairman Scott Johnston said: “The toy appeal is the kind of project the Round Table is all about – getting involved in supporting the community, helping local people.
“The generosity of local people is amazing. It’s great to be working with all the supermarkets and other groups to try to make this the best year ever.”
Coatbridge man Iain Strefford is involved with Spirit Aid’s long-running toy appeal as well as helping to distribute the Advertiser donations. He said: “Gifts can be for all children from newborn to teens – the only thing we ask is they’re new and in their packaging. The value isn’t important; it’s all about the thought.
“For teenagers, things like hairdryers, make-up, footballs and books are great and last year we also received a lot of vouchers, which are fantastic and proved popular.
“Last year Spirit Aid distributed the most donations ever, and a major part of that was the Advertiser appeal contributions – it means that a lot more children can benefit.”
Raymond Taylor, North Lanarkshire’s community social work manager, is “delighted” the department is again helping to hand out the donated toys and gifts.
He said: “The Advertiser toy appeal makes such a difference to families in need across the area – and it’s great to see so many agencies come together, particularly during these times of austerity, to help children this Christmas.”