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Whitstable Toy Run organisers appeal for donations to buy Christmas gifts for children at QEQM hospital


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Toy run organisers are appealing for donations so poorly youngsters don’t miss out on gifts this Christmas.

For more than 30 years, hundreds of bikers from across Kent have taken part in Whitstable Toy Run Association’s (WTRA) annual festive event.

Whitstable Toy Run Association’s toy run, in 2018. Picture: Alan Langley
Whitstable Toy Run Association’s toy run, in 2018. Picture: Alan Langley

Dressed in Christmas costumes, they meet in Whitstable on the first weekend of December, before taking a scenic ride to Margate to deliver presents to children spending the holidays at the QEQM hospital.

But the hugely popular toy run has this year been cancelled for the first time in its history, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Now, organisers are appealing for donations so they can ensure toys are still delivered to young patients at the QEQM this Christmas.

A couple of hundred toys are usually donated by those taking part in the ride, while about £800 is also typically collected on the day, and used to buy items on the hospital’s wish list.

This year, organisers are instead asking for cash donations so presents can be bought from Kids Korner toy shop in Herne Bay, and sent directly from there to the QEQM.

Whitstable Toy Run organisers, pictured in 2018. Picture: Alan Langley
Whitstable Toy Run organisers, pictured in 2018. Picture: Alan Langley

WTRA vice-chair Damian Hughes said: “This year we can’t get anywhere near the hospital.

“As we obviously can’t do the run, we’re instead asking anyone who normally comes on the run or who would like to donate a toy, to donate money to our Whitstable Toy Run page.

“That way we can also help support a local toy shop this Christmas, when so many businesses have had to close for the lockdown or are struggling.

“Whatever we raise we’re going to pass on to the toy shop and they’re going to supply us with a big sack of toys for the hospital.

“Then we can supply the toys safely and with all the hospital protocols in place, so the kids don’t miss out.”

The toy run has been cancelled for the first time in its history. Stock picture from 2018. Picture: Alan Langley
The toy run has been cancelled for the first time in its history. Stock picture from 2018. Picture: Alan Langley

All toys will be placed in quarantine at the hospital before they are handed out.

“We’re just trying to get the word out that we’re still keen for people to donate if they can,” said Mr Hughes.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so via PayPal, to whitstabletoyrun@outlook.com.

For more information, visit Whitstable Toy Run Association’s Facebook page.

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