Belfast Royal Academy toy appeal beats all records

Pupils and staff of Belfast Royal Academy have been sharing a lot of love in the run-up to Christmas.

The Cliftonville Road grammar school - the oldest school in the city - runs an annual toy appeal and this year managed to gather an incredible 1,411 new toys which have been distributed to a range of local charities,

Pupils from right across BRA’s large catchment area took part including those from Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Larne and Ballyclare.

Senior teacher, Phil Dorman, organised the annual collection and is overwhelmed by this year’s response which has beaten all previous records.

Getting the Belfast Royal Academy minibus loaded up with gifts donated to this year's toy appeal.

“We are delighted to be able to share some joy with local children this Christmas and donate such a substantial number of toys.

“Hopefully these toys will help bring a smile to the faces of children who would otherwise receive very little over the festive period.

“At BRA all our pupils are assigned to one of four “houses” and we run regular house competitions. This year we awarded house points for each toy that was donated by a pupil from that house – it all got very competitive!”

The toys have been shared across 10 local charities including Surestart, Ballysillan Youth for Christ, Children’s Team at Carlisle Centre, Banardos, Townsend Outreach Centre, The Salvation Army and Women’s Aid.

Santa's little helpers: pupils and staff at Belfast Royal Academy fill up a school minibus with donated toys.