It’s fantastic that so many people have helped

14/12/2011 (MOL) WE CAN DO IT''A group of people have got together and helped donate toys for children's charity Barnardo's.''Pictured is: (back l-r) Greig Sampson with Marcus Sampson (8 months old), Martin Bell, Ruth Sampson, Beth McGriskin, Alan Duke with Callum Duke (2), Adam Swire, Deborah Heron, Stuart Bower and Jackie Bower with (front) Alf Bell and some of the toys that have been donated.''Picture: Sarah Standing (114395-7354)

14/12/2011 (MOL) WE CAN DO IT''A group of people have got together and helped donate toys for children's charity Barnardo's.''Pictured is: (back l-r) Greig Sampson with Marcus Sampson (8 months old), Martin Bell, Ruth Sampson, Beth McGriskin, Alan Duke with Callum Duke (2), Adam Swire, Deborah Heron, Stuart Bower and Jackie Bower with (front) Alf Bell and some of the toys that have been donated.''Picture: Sarah Standing (114395-7354)

Aaron Prior, 15, and his mum Sam Picture: Sarah Standing (170834-4170)

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Piled up on the floor, this is the collection of goodies and treats that could help make the dreams of underprivileged children come true this Christmas.

The bundles of wrapped toys have been gathered up by Kleeneze catalogue distributors based across Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville.

The teams handed out letters asking for toys so they could send them off to kids being cared for by charity Barnardo’s.

They put out their requests during their routine pick-ups of catalogue orders.

But little did they know they would collect so many. After just six weeks, hundreds of toys have been gathered worth a total of £7,000.

Kleeneze distributor Alf Bell, 76, his wife Carol, 66, and others will take the gifts to officials at Barnardo’s head office, based at Tanners Lane, in Ilford, Essex, next week.

The toys will then be sent on to children living in Barnardo’s children’s centres across the country.

Alf, 76, who lives in Tanner’s Ridge, Waterlooville, said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic that so many people have dug deep and donated.

‘Children really look forward to Christmas-time and now those being cared for by Barnardo’s will have something extra-special to get excited about.

He added: ‘We really wanted to help others.

‘It’s so important to send out the message that Christmas is about giving and not just receiving gifts.’

The national toy donation initiative was dreamed up by staff working at Vision Group, based in Peterborough, which works in partnership with Kleeneze.

This year more than £30,000 worth of toys have been donated to Barnardo’s through Kleeneze workers across the UK.

Alf, who has been a Kleeneze catalogue distributor for the past four years, said: ‘I really believe in charitable causes.

‘Putting a smile on a child’s face is what it’s all about. I really hope we achieve that.

Carol said: ‘I’ve worked hard all my life. Now it’s about giving something back.

‘I wanted to do something really positive in the community and help out those less fortunate across the country.’

She continued: ‘It’s important to give to others overseas, but it’s a great feeling knowing we’re going to make a difference to people living here. Barnardo’s is fantastic because it supports children who have been ill-treated by their families or whose parents have separated.’

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