Young Star Harlie gets behind our toy appeal

An award-winning young charity fundraiser is urging people to donate to the Shropshire Star and Storage King Christmas Toy Appeal.

Eleven-year-old Harlie McGowan, from Telford, was voted Young Star of the Year by Shropshire Star readers in our Great Big Thank You awards earlier this year.

And now the youngster, who has worked tirelessly to support Hope House Children's Hospice, is urging people to donate brand new toys, games and books to our appeal which aims to bring a little joy to children who might be finding Christmas a difficult time of year.

Harlie, who goes to Charlton School in Wellington, was just three years old when his mother Sonia died in 2011. He received support from a counsellor at the hospice in Morda, near Oswestry. Harlie has spent the past three years working to repay the hospice by donating Christmas and Easter hampers, collecting DVDs and raising money for the hospice.

The youngster said he was delighted to back our toy appeal as Hope House is one of the charities we are supporting, along with The Movement Centre, The Harry Johnson Trust, Telford Young Carers, and the children's ward at the Princess Royal Hospital.

The Christmas toy appeal is back for a fifth year

Harlie said: "I hope people donate to the collection, because if the children have toys, it will mean they have something to play with over Christmas.

"Not all children are as fortunate as me, I'm very lucky as I will have lots of presents over Christmas.

"Christmas is a very special time of year, and every child should have something to play with.

"I want to support Hope House because it did a lot for me when I was going through a difficult time, and I would like to give something back."

The appeal has got off to a flying start, with a Hornby train set among more than 250 items generously donated by our readers.

The appeal is also being backed by Pure Gym in Telford, which has set up a collection point, and Rotherwood Healthcare, which runs the St George's Park and Roden Hall care homes.

Since its launch in 2015, the appeal has seen about 4,000 gifts distributed to charities and organisations across Shropshire.

Donations can be handed in at our three collection points:

  • Telford: Shropshire Star, Ketley Business Park, Waterloo Road, TF1 5HU

  • Telford: Pure Gym, Brodie House, Central Square, TF3 4DR

  • Shrewsbury: Shropshire Star, 2, Bellstone, Shrewsbury, SY1 1HX

  • Shrewsbury: Storage King, Archers Way, Battlefield Enterprise Park, Shrewsbury, SY1 3GA

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