Thanks to 'incredible' Torbay Weekly readers for toy donations

Torquay community manager Andy Bichard and Torquay Corps treasurer Fred King with Hannah Bryant of Winners 2000

Torquay community manager Andy Bichard and Torquay Corps treasurer Fred King with Hannah Bryant of Winners 2000 - Credit: Submitted

Torbay Weekly readers have been thanked for their 'incredible' help in providing more than 750 toys that were delivered to 300 children across Torbay.

A spokesman for Torbay Salvation Army said: "A huge thank you to the Torbay Weekly readers and the Torbay community for supporting the 2020 Salvation Army Toy Appeal.

A few of the presents ready for collection

A few of the presents ready for collection - Credit: Submitted

"The 2020 appeal was a great success, providing more than 750 toys to over 300 children across Torbay - far more toys than was initially envisaged."

Torquay Salvation Army community manager Andy Bichard added: "The response to the appeal was incredible, we are truly thankful to the Torbay community and would also like to thank the Torbay Weekly for covering the appeal and shining a light on the work we were doing.

The Torbay Salvation Army team - Andy Bichard, church leader Bernard Stevenson, Ray Irving Paignton Salvation Army, Brixham church leader Matthew Brake and Torquay church leader Chris Baker

The Torbay Salvation Army team - Andy Bichard, church leader Bernard Stevenson, Ray Irving Paignton Salvation Army, Brixham church leader Matthew Brake and Torquay church leader Chris Baker - Credit: Submitted

"It was both amazing and humbling as the toys kept coming in and the influx certainly kept us busy!

"To every person that donated, on behalf of The Salvation Army I would like to say a huge thank you and I am sure that is a thank you echoed by all the families who benefitted from your generosity. 

"You made a real difference to the lives of so many children who could otherwise have gone without and we appreciate all your efforts, donations and support.

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“This was the first time The Salvation Army across Torbay has held a Bay-wide appeal.

Torquay community manager Andy Bichard and Torquay Corps treasurer Fred King with one Volvo estate carload of Amazon deliveries

Torquay community manager Andy Bichard and Torquay Corps treasurer Fred King with one Volvo estate carload of Amazon deliveries - Credit: Submitted

"While there is history of working for our communities in our separate towns, this year we felt that with all the challenges families are facing that it was time we worked together to ensure that the appeal would reach as many children in need as possible; whist also providing a more streamlined service to local social workers and referral agents who work across Torbay.

"On all levels this joined up approach was a great success and sets a template going forward that will ultimately benefit those in need across our three towns.

“Over the years our appeals have relied on toy donations being brought directly to our churches. We had to quickly rethink this as the second lockdown came into force just as our appeal went live.

"Transferring over to an Amazon Wish list made a huge difference, meaning people could donate and we could receive those donations in a Covid-19 safe manner. 

"I think like many organisations have found over the last year, when there is a desire to do something good there is a way to make it happen and that is especially true when it comes to children at Christmas.

"We were blessed to have a member of the church who was willing to be the point of delivery for all the donations, Torquay treasurer Fred King, who spent four weeks answering the door and getting to know a lot of the Amazon delivery drivers very well! 

“The Salvation Army would also like to thank all the organisations that helped support the appeal with donations or putting our poster in their windows. A special word of thanks to Hannah and the team at Winners 2000 Fitness and also Babbacombe and St Marychurch Lions Club for going the extra mile with their support and donations.

Throughout 2021, The Salvation Army will continue to provide referred food and debt provision to those in need across the local community as well as the 2021 Toy Appeal that will launch in November.