‘People slag Nuneaton off but the people are just incredible’ – that’s the message from the grateful organiser of the town’s annual Christmas toy appeal.
Major Neil Denyer of the Nuneaton Salvation Army was left completely stunned by the response shown to this year’s plea to donate gifts to children who faced waking up on Christmas Day with nothing to open.
In the face of a second national lockdown and Tier 3 restrictions the sheer level of donations has made this year’s appeal a record breaker.
It is a milestone not lost on Major Denyer who said: “It has been absolutely marvellous.
“We have received more donations than we have ever got, which is saying something,
“I like to big the people of Nuneaton up, people slag them off but they really to go to extra lengths to make sure they support things like this.”
This year’s appeal was like no other, which makes the response even more incredible.
“I did what I always do, I put an appeal out on the local community forums a couple of months ago, and the response was great,” he explained
“People were offering to donate toys, shops offering to be collection points, I think with Covid people really wanted to pull together.
“But then two days before we were due to start collecting we went into lock down. It meant the shops and pubs could not collect for us and so I decided to shift everything back, push the deadline back as soon as lockdown ended.”
It left them with a two week window to collect donations.
“As soon as lockdown ended, I put some drop off dates online and everything we have got, we got in just those two weeks, it has been absolutely astounding,” he said.
In fact, he was still receiving donations into the late evening of the last drop-off day.
“We were still getting donations at 10pm on Monday night, it was incredible,” he said.
“It’s too hard to say how many we have had, hundreds and hundreds, it has been brilliant.
“I get the great job, I get to be Father Christmas and hand them over to social services for them to be delivered, but we couldn’t have done this without everyone who donated.
“It has been incredible.”
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