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Shropshire Star Toy Appeal will help Harry’s legacy live on

By Mark Andrews | Health | Published:

When Harry Johnson died at the age of seven from a rare form of cancer, his parents Sally and Stephen were determined to use their experience to help other children and their families going through a similar experience.

Sally Johnson collects some toys from one of our previous toy appeals

And since it was formed three years ago, The Harry Johnson Trust has raised £200,000 to achieve those ends.

This is the third year running that the charity, which provides support to all children being treated for cancer at Telford's Princess Royal Hospital, has taken part in the Shropshire Star and Storage King Christmas Toy Appeal.

And we are asking our generous band of readers to give generously to ensure that as many of the youngsters the charity helps with have the best Christmas possible.

Sally Johnson with a picture of her son Harry, who died aged seven in 2014

Sally, who was headteacher of St Mary's School in Shawbury before Harry's diagnosis in 2013, said in previous years the appeal had also enabled the charity to help the brothers and sisters of children suffering from the disease.

“Very often, when a child is diagnosed with cancer, one of the parents has to give up work, meaning that they lose an income, and that may mean they are unable to give the siblings a treat, sometimes they go without," she said.

“They don’t moan about it, they don’t ask for anything, but we really like to give them presents as well if we can, as they often feel left out.”

Sally, from Vennington, near Shrewsbury, urged people to give generously, and said gifts for teenagers are particularly welcome. “I think teenagers are always hard, people don’t know what to get for them,” she said.

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“Teenage girls particularly like pampering products, while teenage boys like construction sets, Airfix kits and things like that.”

The charity provides small treats for youngsters, be it trips to the cinema or short-break holidays.

Each youngster arriving at the children’s oncology ward at the Princess Royal Hospital is presented with a "Harry’s Hamper" containing items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, a flannel, biscuits a notebook and pencils or pens.

Each family also receives a gift card for the hospital cafe so they can buy snacks and refreshments.

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“We support children whenever and however possible, and so we grant ‘wishes’ as requested by staff at the hospital for individual children when we can.”

The appeal is also supporting Hope House Children's Hospice, The Movement Centre which gives pioneering therapies to children with mobility problems, Telford & Wrekin children's services, and the children's ward at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust.

To support the appeal, please bring your gifts into one of the following collection points:

  • Shrewsbury: Storage King, Archers Way, Battlefield Enterprise Park, SY1 3GA
  • Shrewsbury: Shropshire Star, 2, Bellstone, SY1 1QQ
  • Oswestry: Shropshire Star, 14 Salop Road, SY11 2NU
  • Telford: Shropshire Star, Ketley Business Park, Waterloo Road, TF1 5HU
  • Telford: Leegomery Children’s Centre, Pool Farm Avenue, Apley, TF16FR
  • Telford: Sutton Hill Children’s Centre, 103 Southgate, TF7 4HG
  • Wellington: Wrekin View Children’s Centre, North Road, Wellington, TF1 3ES
Mark Andrews

By Mark Andrews
@MAndrews_Star

Senior news writer for the Shropshire Star specialising in in-depth features and commentary, investigative reporting and political matters.

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