Transport for London's (TfL's) Lost Property Office is helping find the Christmas spirit. Hundreds of new, unclaimed children's toys which were handed in to TfL's Lost Property Office this year have been given to The Salvation Army to donate to children in south London.
This is the eighth year TfL's Lost Property Office has donated new unclaimed children's toys to The Salvation Army, who will now work with Lewisham Council to distribute the 200 plus toys to those who will appreciate them most and may otherwise have gone without this Christmas.
The brand new toys, that went unclaimed for over three months, range from dolls, teddy bears and toy cars to board games and electronic gadgets.
Operating from its home in Baker Street, TfL's Lost Property Office has been helping to reunite passengers with their lost possessions for 80 years now, with last year seeing the highest number of items received for years. During the last year over a quarter of a million items were left by passengers on TfL's transport services which includes London Buses, London Underground, London Overground, the Dockland Light Railway, licensed taxis, Victoria Coach Station and the Emirates Air Line cable car.
The top three items handed in for 2014 are worlds apart from what they would have been 80 years ago when the Lost Property Office first opened its doors. Then gloves and umbrellas were likely to be the most popular. The most common item staff now see is mobile phones with 20,309 handed in this year, followed by travel card holders with 18,433 handed in and wallets or purses with 11,580 received. These three items have remained at the top of the list for three years in a row.
Losing an item of property can be devastating, particularly at this time of year when people are shopping for family, friends and loved ones at Christmas. TfL urges all passengers to check they have their belongings with them before they leave the Tube, a bus or any other transport services.
Sue Tyler of TfL's Lost Property Office, said: `The fact so many items have been handed in over 80 years is testament to the honesty of the travelling public in London. It is a shame the children's toys were not reclaimed by their owners, but it is just wonderful to know they will now bring smiles to children who might have otherwise gone without.
`The Lost Property Office team work incredibly hard all year round to deal with hundreds of thousands of items - it is great to see their efforts highlighted once again through this donation to such a worthy cause.'
Captain Kevin Stanbury, of The Salvation Army's Deptford Community Church, said: `The Salvation Army works throughout the year to provide compassionate help and practical support to people who are vulnerable or in need. At Christmas, when many are enjoying the celebrations on offer, others are struggling to make ends meet. Our Christmas Present Appeal ensures no child goes without a gift at Christmas. We're grateful for the support from our community, who selflessly donate toys each year, and to TfL who make sure lost toys find a new home and bring smiles to children in need this Christmas.'
Over the years, many extraordinary items have been handed in including false teeth and limbs, wedding dresses, stuffed animals, urns of ashes and even a parachute. Close to one quarter of items found on TfL services are restored to their owner. Higher value items and those with unique identification, such as mobile phones and wallets have a better success rate with up to half being returned.
Items not claimed after three months have personal data removed and are securely destroyed before either being donated to charities including The Salvation Army and the British Red Cross, recycled, disposed of, or sold at auction. Any revenue generated from unclaimed items contributes towards the cost of running the Lost Property Office.
In person or by writing to:
Lost Property Office
200 Baker Street