You’ve saved Christmas for 17,000 children in South Yorkshire

Hallam FM breakfast team,left to right,  producer James,  Big John and Janine with some of the thousands of gifts donated for Mission Christmas.

Hallam FM breakfast team,left to right, producer James, Big John and Janine with some of the thousands of gifts donated for Mission Christmas.

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More than 17,000 needy children in South Yorkshire woke up today to discover Santa had been after all - thanks to YOU!

In another record-breaking year more toys and gifts than ever were donated to The Star-backed Hallam FM and Magic AM’s Cash For Kids Mission Christmas appeal.

The Hallam FM breakfast team, Big John, producer James and Janine with part of the huge haul of donated presents

The Hallam FM breakfast team, Big John, producer James and Janine with part of the huge haul of donated presents

Generous readers and radio listeners donated presents, from baby items to teenage gifts, to put smiles on the faces of 17,115 children.

That’s the shocking number of youngsters - aged up to 18 - who have been referred for gifts this year by social services and other official children’s organisations, including Barnardo’s, NSPCC and foodbanks.

Without your donations they were at risk of missing out on the joy most children take for granted on Christmas morning.

The total value of presents and cash donations is expected to have topped last year’s record of an estimated three quarters of a million pounds.

The Hallam FM breakfast team, Big John, producer James and Janine with part of the huge haul of donated presents

The Hallam FM breakfast team, Big John, producer James and Janine with part of the huge haul of donated presents

Each Christmas the number of children help has increased. It was 15,257 in 2013, up from 14,300 and 13,159 in previous years.

With the economy still gloomy and many families living on the poverty line, more requests for gifts than ever flooded in this year, said Louise Davies, the Cash For Kids Charity Manager.

The mission was to get people to buy one extra gift and donate it to the appeal, to ensure every child in need got gifts

Individuals, businesses and organisations rose to the challenge, with hundreds of drop-off points, including The Star shop in York Street, and scores of business supporters.

The Hallam FM breakfast team, Big John, producer James and Janine with part of the huge haul of donated presents

The Hallam FM breakfast team, Big John, producer James and Janine with part of the huge haul of donated presents

Louise, who has been moved to tears by some of the kindness show, said: “We’ve broken records again. The generosity of local people has been very humbling. And we’re thrilled to be able to say once again, it’s mission accomplished! Our biggest year so far. Thank you and well done to everyone.

“It’s shocking that one in five children in our region live below the poverty line. It’s a harrowing statistic.

“Our mission was to save Christmas for these children and ensure no child in South Yorkshire woke on Christmas morning with nothing. With lots of help, including loads of volunteers helping to collect and sort the gifts, to get them to the right children, we’ve done it.

“A special thanks of course to The Star and its readers, who give us amazing support every year. readers. We are so grateful for all your money donations and gifts.”

Big John @Breakfast radio presenter John Harrison, the public face of the appeal, said: “Thank you so much to everybody involved. To all the volunteers, everybody at our Cash For Kids Charity and all our sponsors. But most of all thank you for giving.

“We are massively overwhelmed. We’ve smashed it. Incredible.”

This year’s appeal was run in partnership with Claremont Private Hospital in Sandygate, Sheffield.

Andy Davey, Hospital Director said “We have been inundated with bags of gifts from the good people of Sheffield since the start of Mission Christmas. Claremont staff have also been doing their bit to raise cash and buy extra gifts. We are extremely proud to have played our part in giving the underprivileged children of South Yorkshire a better Christmas.”

Other partnerships included support from Foresters, the international financial services organisation.

It was also supported by O2 Stores, Best Solicitors, Priory Shopping Centre in Worksop, MKM Building Supplies, Taylor Wimpey, Dreams, and Burrows Motor Company.

All the money raised on behalf of Cash for Kids stays in the area it was raised, providing a helping hand when and where it is needed most – this year it has helped over 60,000 local children.