A POPULAR toy appeal ran from Egerton Football Club has provided 1900 children with a Christmas this year.

Dee and Chris Drake, organisers of the Lalley Toy Appeal, have talked about how ‘overwhelmed’ they have been with support for this year’s appeal.

The charity drive, which is now in its fifth year, collects and distributes donated toys to disadvantaged children across Knutsford and other parts of Cheshire, reaching as far as Manchester and this year handled more than 15,500 presents for the youngsters.

Operation ‘give a child a Christmas’, saw more than 200 volunteers turn out to help stuff toy sacks for children from birth up to the age of 17.

Dee said: “We were overwhelmed by the support this year, we have had businesses contact us and offer to be collection points, we had schools collecting toy donated from their pupils.

“Through social media the word has really started to spread and this year we teamed up with Egerton Football club, who offered us their facilities to run the toy operation from. “Even though this year has been bigger than ever, through the support and fundraising, it has been one of the easiest.”

This year saw the appeal increase in size to support 1900 children, an increase of almost 100 per cent from 2015.

Dee added: “We planned to increase by 50 per cent this year and support 1500 children, but when the requests come in, you cannot say no.

“Our referrals come from social workers, schools and drop in centres, they know which children need help and which would go without anything to open on Christmas morning if it wasn’t for the sack of toys from our appeal.”

Dee and Chris have thanked Egerton Football club, in particular Tom O’Donnell, Gaynor Clifton and Mike Walker, all the drop off points, and Event Buddha for the use of tables.

The team leaders and their deputies have also been thanked as well as the van drivers and deliveries teams and Fiona O’Donnell and Catherine Fraser for feeding the volunteers.

Planning for the 2017 Toy Appeal will start in March, to get involved visit lalleyappeal.com