30 Dec Manchester Evening News – All the incredible people from Greater Manchester recognised in King’s New Year Honours list

Dee Drake, founder of the Toy Appeal, has been given a BEM for charitable services to disadvantaged children

“I’m absolutely thrilled [to be recognised]. I got quite emotional when I got the email. But it’s a real team effort.

This year the charity’s efforts meant thousands of children across Greater Manchester and Cheshire woke up on Christmas Day morning to presents they might otherwise not have received. The appeal started life at the Lalley Centre in Collyhurst 10 years ago.

“It was just a real shock to the system. It really touched a nerve seeing all these kids going without. I roped my husband in and that first year we helped 500 kids in Collyhurst and it all just went from there. This year we gave presents to 10,704 kids.”

“We haven’t got kids and it just gives us a nice feeling on Christmas Day morning. It’s my baby and I love it.”

Dee Drake (left) with Toy Appeal volunteers Kirsty and Kieran

30 Dec Knutsford Guardian – Cheshire residents recognised in New Year’s Honours List 2023

Dee Drake, of Twemlow Green, founded The Toy Appeal charity in 2012 with the the help of her husband Chris.

Since the charity was founded more than 50,000 sacks of toys have been delivered to children who would otherwise receive nothing.

Each sack contains a main present, two books, a piece of sports equipment, a board game, a craft activity, stocking fillers and a cuddly toy.

The appeal started in the inner schools of Manchester but now covers the whole of the north west.

Dee works full time but campaigns tirelessly throughout the year for funding.

In 2017 she was nominated for Cheshire Woman of the Year, and in the same year she won the Community Award at the 25th Inspiring Women Awards.

Dec Cheshire Life – Dee Drake, Cheshire Life Platinum Jubilee 70 Champion (Article published in Dec 2022 issue (p. 57))


18 Dec The Guardian – How to Covid-proof your Christmas – It’s not all about you, you know

18 Dec Knutsford Guardian – Red toy sacks bring Christmas joy to almost 10,000 children

10 Dec The Independent – Buy a Christmas present for a child in need


9 Dec ITV – Granada Reports Advent Heroes: Day 9 – Dee Drake, The Toy Appeal

19 Oct Knutsford Guardian – Toy Appeal seeks donations from Knutsford residents towards 5,000 target

7 Jan Cheshire Life – Narnia-themed Toy Appeal Ball


27 Dec Knutsford Guardian – Knutsford Bootcamp raises £150 for Toy Appeal

11 Dec Knutsford Beer Festival Community Fund – Making Christmas special for children who need it most

9 Dec Knutsford Guardian – Toy Appeal delighted by support for unprivileged children

6 Nov Knutsford Guardian – Knutsford charity aims to support 5,000 children this Christmas

15 Feb Knutsford Guardian – Knutsford charity wins major boost from Red Sea Pedestrians


19 Dec Knutsford Guardian – Knutsford-based Toy Appeal to support 3,700 children this year

16 Dec Manchester Evening News – Ensuring Father Christmas visits at Christmas

1 Dec Knutsford Guardian – Knutsford-based charity seeks support for Toy Appeal


23 Dec BrightVibes Video

23 Nov Cheshire Life – Behind the scenes at the Toy Appeal in Knutsford (Article published in Dec 2017 issue (pp. 22-24))

5 Nov Messenger – The Toy Appeal launches biggest campaign to help disadvantaged children this Christmas

3 Nov Knutsford Guardian – Toy Appeal set to double its efforts for Christmas 2017

25 Oct So Cheshire – The Toy Appeal 2017

22 Jun Cheshire Life – 2017 Inspiring Women Awards

16 May Cheshire Life – 2017 Cheshire Woman of the Year Awards


14 Dec Knutsford Guardian – The Toy Appeal gives 1,900 disadvantaged children a Christmas this year

5 Dec Knutsford Guardian – Egerton gives its support to toy appeal

30 Sep Knutsford Guardian – The Toy Appeal to give 1,500 disadvantaged children a happier Christmas this year


11 Dec The Toy Appeal was featured in the BBC documentary Sister Rita to the Rescue

7 Dec Knutsford Guardian The Toy Appeal to give presents to 1,000 children thanks to overwhelming support and generosity

15 Oct Knutsford Guardian – Twemlow Green residents appeal for toys to make Christmas special for children living in poverty

5 Jan Knutsford Guardian – Happier Christmas for hundreds of children thanks to generous Knutsfordians


11 Nov Knutsford Guardian Knutsfordians launch Christmas Toy Appeal for underprivileged children