Like Santa, December is a busy month for Wanstead resident Frank Charles BEM, who’ll once again soon be delivering presents to sick children. Unlike Santa, Frank needs your help to fill his sack with toys
The Frank Charles Give a Gift Appeal has had a very eventful 2022, granting wishes to children with life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses throughout the year, delivering supplies to families in need and supporting rough sleepers with food and clothing via the other branch of my charity, Feed the Streetz.
I began the Frank Charles Give A Gift Appeal in 2004 and we celebrated its seventh anniversary as a registered charity last month.
As a child, I spent several years in Great Ormond Street Hospital and it was pretty miserable being in there over Christmas. Many years later, my first son, Ashley, passed away from the same illness that had blighted my early childhood, and it is in his memory that I decided to try and brighten the lives of children who were too ill to go home over the festive period. So, every year since 2004, I deliver Christmas presents to sick children at Acorn Ward in Whipps Cross Hospital.
Wanstead residents have always been very supportive of my charity, with donations of toys, clothing, furniture and financial contributions, which have helped so many families in the East End of London. A special thank you to Elsa Arnold for hosting a quiz night last month at the Leytonstone Tavern, raising funds for my annual Christmas toy appeal (and congratulations to Wanstead Warriors who were victorious in the quiz and kindly donated their winnings to the appeal). And thanks also to John Wagstaff from Petty Son & Prestwich for making a kind donation to the cause.
Ali from Wanstead Pharmacy has once again offered to accept unwrapped presents at the shop for this year’s toy appeal, now in its 19th consecutive year. Books, toys, games and gifts suitable for all ages up to 16 years will be most welcome. The last date for dropping off presents is 17 December.
My Feed the Streetz foodbank has also been very busy this year due to the cost of living crisis affecting the whole country. In May, the charity bought a secondhand van and this has helped so much in collecting and distributing food, as well as delivering donated furniture to those in need.
Finally, a big highlight for me personally this year was being invited to the late Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 25 May with my wife, Paula.
On behalf of everyone at the Frank Charles Give a Gift Appeal and Feed the Streetz, we would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy New Year.
Gifts can be dropped off at Wanstead Pharmacy (75–77 High Street) until 17 December. For more information on the Frank Charles Give a Gift Appeal and Feed the Streetz, visit frankcharles.org.uk