THANKS MATE: Len McConnell is overwhelmed at the generosity of the community who have helped him provide a great Christmas for his family.
THANKS MATE: Len McConnell is overwhelmed at the generosity of the community who have helped him provide a great Christmas for his family. Bev Lacey

City opens its heart to grant Christmas wish

TOOWOOMBA father Len McConnell, 37, has been overwhelmed by the city's generosity at arguably the toughest financial period of the year.

The unemployed counselling and case management student was facing a bleak Christmas with his four kids, compounded by the fact his ex-wife will soon be moved to palliative care.

She finished chemotherapy at the end of August and given a 10-month prognosis. She will move into the high-care facility after Christmas.

In an effort to make Christmas a memorable and joyful day, Mr McConnell turned to Gumtree, but could never have predicted the response.

"The purpose of doing the Gumtree ad was that I only had $50 and not only that, but because it will be the kids' last Christmas with their mum," he said.

"I went to Vinnies to get a present for the kids - just one - then did the ad, asking if there were people who could spare something.

"I wasn't asking for anything else, just to help make Christmas special because it will be the last with their mother."

The ad was for anyone who could contribute a gift for his kids aged 12, 10, 7 and 3, to help make tomorrow a day they could remember.

Mr McConnell's wish was to show her he could care for their children and provide for them, easing her concerns for the children's futures.

A caller to radio station River 949 put Mr McConnell's situation on the airwaves and, in the true spirit of Christmas, Toowoomba responded.

Toowoomba Council staff, Toyworld and Stefan rallied to the cause, overwhelming the emotional dad.

The quickly gathered toy collection will be delivered to Mr McConnell's Toowoomba home today.


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