Ribble Valley 18th annual festive toy appeal launch

The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times and the Ribble Valley branch of the Salvation Army have once again teamed up to launch their annual appeal to help families and children who might otherwise go without this Christmas.

For the 18th year running, the generosity of Valley residents will once again be called upon to make sure children from disadvantaged families have new toys and gifts to open on Christmas morning.

Last year, thanks to the kindness of the people of the Ribble Valley, more than 500 children had huge smiles on their faces after receiving brand-new gifts from the appeal.

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However, this year more than ever, your toy donations matter. As we emerge from the pandemic, the prospect of Christmas is daunting for so many families and the financial pressures can be crippling. Covid-19 has affected everyone and this means that some people are in a very different situation to the one they started in 18 months ago.

Territorial Envoy Brenda Wise and Capt. Elizabeth Smith call upon the kindness of local people to donate new toys for the needy this Christmas

The appeal has been supported by the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times for the past 18 years and we are appealing for the donation of new toys and gifts for different age groups from babies to teenagers.

The premise of the appeal is that presents for any age of child or teenager can be donated, as long as they are new. The items will be distributed to families across the Ribble Valley, with the aim that each child receives a main gift, a craft item or game, a soft toy and a book.

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Appeal co-ordinator Captain Elizabeth Smith, of the Clitheroe Salvation Army, explains: "Last year the public amazed us with their generosity as more than 500 children received gifts and festive goodies. Thank you again for your kindness. This year we hope to meet the needs of every family who find themselves struggling to provide toys for their children. We are confident our brilliant community, as always, will pull together to meet the need.

"We accept referrals from all agencies who work with families. We also accept self-referrals from parents who are not in touch with an agency. Please ring or text me (Elizabeth) on 07709 351 394 to refer. We would appreciate all referrals to be in by Thursday, December9th, but we will deal with any last minute emergencies.

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"Donors can drop toys off at the Skipton Building Society, 7 Market Place, Clitheroe, or The Salvation Army, 31/31a Lowergate, Clitheroe.

"We will also be taking referrals for our Christmas Day Lunch. We cater for all ages, the criteria being loneliness. Will you be lonely on Christmas Day? If so, whatever your circumstances please apply by ringing or texting Elizabeth to submit your name, address and telephone number.

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"We look forward to a successful Christmas Appeal and thank you all in advance for your contribution.”