A couple from Sutton are renewing their appeal for Christmas presents to help the children of families in need this year.
So far, Robert Watson and his wife have given presents to 18,000 kids in Sutton over the past seven years.
They have in total raised £1.1 million to spend on Christmas presents, and donate them to local charities to give to kids who would otherwise go without.
Robert says they have got “so big now” that people regularly just drop toys off at his house and at designated drop-off points around the area.
Dad-of-four Robert told Your Local Guardian: “We could fill my office 10 times over with how many toys we get each year.
“We ask for a list of kids’ ages and genders from local charities and then we dish them out.
“We normally try to give each one a large toy, a small toy, a selection box, a book and an item of clothing.
“When our kids are in bed throughout November and December we get a babysitter and we go to my office to get it all sorted.
“I’d say we do a list of around 200 kids every night and whatever we’re short of I use the money we’ve raised to go to Tescos or Smiths and buy trollies filled with toys.”
This year, Robert and his wife are estimating that they will help around 4,000 children by giving them Christmas presents – a number higher than in previous years “due to Covid”.
Robert said: “Parents have been losing their jobs and it’s been harder due to Covid so I think there are a lot more who need our help this year.
“It’s important to me because I’ve got kids and I’d hate to think that on Christmas Day they’d have nothing.
“If something happened to me wife or I I’d hate it if my kids were living a harder life than someone else and got nothing.”
Robert explained that he “doesn’t really sleep” throughout the months leading to Christmas in order to get the presents sorted.
He added: “Come Christmas morning it’s all worth it and my wife and I are very happy.
“It’s so rewarding and we’re over the moon, especially because none of the kids know that the presents are from us.
“They think they’re from Father Christmas and we want them under the tree.
“We also help with decorations, crackers and sweets – and have sometimes given families a £200 Tesco voucher to help with food.
“It all comes from what we raise.”
This Saturday, Robert and his wife are holding a charity event to help with their appeal at the Greek Vine restaurant in Wallington – where there will be live entertainment all night, EastEnders’ Sean Williamson hosting, tribute bands and singing waitresses.
The event will have a live action and a raffle with quality prizes – including TVs and laptops – and, not to mention traditional Greek plate smashing.
There are 140 guests attending the event, and each guest is asked to bring one toy to donate.
In addition, a small part of their ticket prices goes towards the Christmas present-buying fund.
To donate to this year’s Sutton Christmas toy appeal, click here.