Charity launches Christmas appeal to help Kids Company children on anniversary of schoolgirl’s death

Actresses Juliet Stevenson and Michelle Collins with volunteers and Alexandra's mum Lindsey Wylie fr

Actresses Juliet Stevenson and Michelle Collins with volunteers and Alexandra's mum Lindsey Wylie from the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation (AWTF) launch the Christmas food parcel appeal. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

A charity is marking the fifth anniversary of a Highgate schoolgirl’s death from cancer with the launch of a Christmas appeal to help children left without support following the closure of Kids Company.

Alexandra “Allie” Wylie was just 17 when she died on November 25, 2010. In her memory, her family founded the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation (AWTF), and now every Christmas, the charity asks for food donations so it can hand out parcels to disadvantaged children across north London.

But this year, it is widening its appeal to also help children who previously relied on the collapsed South London-based charity Kids Company, which closed earlier this year following allegations of financial mismanagement and a police investigation into sex abuse claims.

Allie’s mum Lindsey Wylie, of Gladsmuir Road, Highgate, said: “We are finding this fifth anniversary of Alexandra’s death very hard. The only way I know how to cope is to channel all the wonderful support we continue to get into trying to make sure that we are able to help as many local children as possible.

“I still find it incredibly hard to believe that in the 21st century we have so many children in an affluent city like London who will be hungry and not get any gift over the festive period. And with the closure of Kids Company there are even more young people out there who need help.”

Celebrity patrons Juliet Stevenson and Michelle Collins, both actresses, launched the annual Christmas appeal on Monday ahead of the fifth anniversary of Allie’s death today. The charity is encouraging residents to give donations of non-perishable food and children’s gifts to make sure as many children as possible have a meal and a present on Christmas Day.

Truly, Madly, Deeply star Ms Stevenson, of Highgate, said: “On the fifth anniversary of Allie’s death, we are witnessing a huge humanitarian crisis, one that we know she would have poured her energies into.

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“More families and children are uprooted, homeless and transient this Christmas than any of us have ever witnessed before. We can’t reach many of the refugees but meanwhile we can do all that is possible to spread a bit of joy and generosity to those who are within our reach.

‘‘This, once again, is a glorious initiative by the AWTF, in the spirit of a great-hearted girl in whose name the charity works, lives and breathes.”

The donations drive is being supported by Channing School in The Bank, Highgate, and King Alfred School in North End Road, Golders Green.

Channing charities officer Erick Jackaman said: “We are very happy to be part of the launch of this community appeal.

“Allie will always be part of Channing and we hope that we can help a lot of children this Christmas in her memory.”

Drop off donations at The Old Crown pub in Highgate Hill, Highgate or at the Gladsmuir Road street party from 4pm until 6pm on December 13.