Night with auctioneer for toy libraries charity

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A charity who loan toys to children is bigger and better than ever after a relaunch, seeing four new sessions right on your doorstep. Local toy libraries speak to The Derbyshire Times as they prepare for this year’s fundraiser, featuring BBC auctioneer James Lewis.

Derbyshire Toy Libraries (DTL), formerly known as Crich Toy Library, has been undergoing a reorganisation and re-launch over the past 12 months, including launching four new ‘Stay and Play’ sessions in Hartington, Heage, Matlock and Belper.

The charity provides fun and stimulating play sessions for parents or carers to bring their babies, toddlers and young children to play with other families, offering a range of more than 2000 toys, games and puzzles, sensory equipment, interactive learning aids and much more to play with or hire. The charity also own a selection of fancy dress costumes.

Toy Library Network spokesman Ann-Marie McMillan said she is delighted the charity has grown so much.

She says: “We launched Crich Toy Library in 2000 and since then it has gone from strength to strength.

“I’ve been eating, drinking and sleeping toy libraries for a long time now.”

Derbyshire Toy Libraries is mainly self-funded through membership subscriptions, session fees, sponsorships and donations.

“But this is not enough to fully support the development of our organisation, which is why it is essential to run annual fundraising events,” Ann adds.

The charity’s Patron is famous auctioneer James Lewis, who ran a 24-hour charity auction fundraiser last November and will be featuring at this year’s event, An Evening with James Lewis, which will include a lighthearted antiques quiz with James, to take place on November 15.

James became associated with the charity because of his daughter, who he and his wife used to take along to Crich Toy Library.

Ann-Marie reflects: “He used to bring his daughter along when she was a baby, because they lived in Crich.

“He’s got a very outgoing and generous personality. He was very kind to us and he’s been our patron ever since.”

James is now a well-known face on international television throughout Europe, America and Africa on BBC shows. He is regularly seen as an expert on Flog It!, The Antiques Road Trip, Bargain Hunt, Cash In The Attic, Put Money Where Your Mouth Is and is heard on numerous BBC radio shows.

The November fundraising event will include free valuations with Bamfords Auctioneers, a pea and pie supper, a bar, an auction, a gift tree, a raffle, table spot-prizes and the antiques quiz.

The quiz will see a group of antiques and collectibles on display for the audience to examine and James will present a prize to the team or individual with the highest score.

“James will bring ten items and see how much the audience can guess about them, but there is no prior knowledge needed,” Ann-Marie says.

“He will also entertain everyone with anecdotes about his time on Bargain Hunt, so it’ll be a good night.”

An Evening with James Lewis will take place on November 15 at Crich Glebe Field Centre from 7pm until 10pm. Tickets will cost £10.

“There are still tickets left but they are going quick,” Ann adds.

For more information on the fundraiser or about their Stay and Play sessions, contact DTL on 08450093019 or contact Ann-Marie directly on 07866484550.

You can also visit their website at or find them on Twitter under @Derbyshire_T_L.