pounds 3bn of forgotten toys lurk in British cupboards

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THE AVERAGE British home contains pounds 254 worth of discarded toys and games, with almost one in five households saying they have unused toys in storage worth more than pounds 400.

A high street bank has launched an appeal for charity, to give new life to the estimated pounds 3.18bn worth of toys that are no longer used. Abbey National is encouraging people to hand in abandoned toys or games at selected branches.

The bank aims to distribute the donations to 10 children's hospitals. It will also hold charity auctions next month for toys and games donated by celebrities, with the money raised going to the hospitals.The appeal will start on Monday and last until 28 January.

Tim Harrison, of Abbey National, said: "We were amazed when our research revealed the true cost of the nation's toy boxes and we're sure that parents and grandparents in particular will agree that it's a shame for these old treasures to lie forgotten when they could be bringing joy to new generations of children."

The hospitals to be supported by the appeal are: Bristol Children's Hospital; the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children; York Hill Sick Children's Hospital, Glasgow; Northwick Park Children's Centre, Middlesex; Royal Manchester Children's Hospital; Birmingham Children's Hospital; Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, London; North of England Children's Cancer Research, Newcastle upon Tyne; Royal Alexander Hospital for Sick Children, Brighton; Jenny Lind Children's Hospital, Norwich; and Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh.