VULNERABLE children will have presents under their tree this Christmas after a huge community effort in Swindon.

Reece Chaplin and fiancée Stephanie Childs came up with the idea to raise some money and to work with businesses to put some smiles on people’s faces.

More than 400 families will have presents bought for them after £1,200 was donated to their Christmas appeal, which ends tomorrow.

“I started getting the ball rolling by reaching out to businesses and asked them to make donations,” Reece said. "We want to help toddlers, kids and teenagers who might not be getting presents this year

“It’s so surreal it’s grown this much. I didn’t realise the impact this would have, it was only when I started to see how many people were donating and sharing I realised this is a necessity.

“This is needed to help the community. These people really do need the help and support.”

WHSmith has donated art and craft items, Gustoso at Albert Street is making hampers for teenagers and Save On Tyres Ltd is donating £2.50 for every tyre it sells.

Labour councillor for Walcot and Park North Abdul Amin and Conservative Bazil Solomon, who represents Liden, Eldene and Park South, are helping the cause by spreading the word.

All of the money raised will be spent on presents at The Entertainer in the Brunel, which is doing a discount for the cause.

The gifts will go to charities such as the Swindon Toy Appeal, The Harbour Project and Swindon Domestic Abuse.

Reece said: “A woman had contacted us after we shared what we were doing and she had just come out of the hospital and away from a domestic abuse situation. She was worried about how she was going to get presents for her teenage son.

“The appeal is allowing people to reach out and get support and it’s bringing the community together.

“This has shown the spirit of community and that’s what Christmas is. This year has highlighted that things can be stripped away and we can be forced to stop seeing friends which can get people down in the dumps. The appeal is giving some of these people something to look forward to.”

Children’s author and illustrator Steve Antony has got on board and pledged to donate £200 worth of signed books.

Donations can be made at