Cathedral toy appeal supports domestic abuse victims

Members of the public are being invited to donate a new toy to the Lichfield Cathedral 2012 Toy Appeal.

The appeal is being held in aid of the Pathway Project, which supports victims of domestic abuse, and the toys will be distributed to local families in need.

Toys will be collected in the coming weeks, with a special focus at the St Nicholas Service on 9 December when the Christmas tree is lit in front of the cathedral building.

St Nicholas was a third century Bishop of Myra, who had a reputation for secret gift-giving and was the inspiration for Santa Claus.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber is asking members of the local community to attend the service and bring a new toy along to support the Pathway Project this Christmas.

Reverend Dorber commented: "Christmas brings particular heartache for families in difficulty. Children can be the victims of domestic violence and family breakdown, and we want to support the Pathway Project as they reach out to families facing hardship and crisis.

"In the spirit of St Nicholas, the cathedral wants to ensure especially vulnerable children can experience some of the joy and delight of Christmas.

"All Christians have to remember Jesus’s teaching and example of joyful generosity, and as we give thanks for this birth, we express our thanks by giving children who face disadvantage and insecurity.”

Kathy Coe, Director from the Pathway Project said of the appeal: “There can be no sadder time for families to have to leave their homes, their friends and families, and all of their belongings than at Christmas. Seeing your children suffer is truly heartrending.

"You would think that the refuges would be really sad places to be but actually they are filled with hope at this time of year. When the gifts begin arriving and the worry and concern of mums trying to find ways to get something for their children is taken away it is wonderful to watch them relax and begin to feel safe and 'at home' with us.

"People are amazing in their support, their care and their concern and the wonderful sounds of children laughing and cheering as they open their gifts on Christmas morning is really heart-warming. Thank you in advance to all the lovely people who will respond to your appeal and help to make someone's Christmas really special.”

For those unable to attend the service, toys can also be dropped off at the Vergers' office or at The Old Stables between the hours of 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. The cathedral is asking for new toys suitable for babies and children up to the age of 16.