Purpleman launches £15K Christmas toy appeal for Syrian orphans – may quit Stonegate to open a school over there

Purpleman hands out toys to Syrian refugees on a previous visit
3 Dec 2015 @ 7.08 pm
| Charity, News

He is a purple man on a purple mission.

Purpleman has launched a campaign to raise £15,000 to buy soft toys for the children hit by war in Syria.

And the much-loved York resident says he may never return to his pitch on Stonegate as he devotes more time to helping the innocent victims of conflict.

Purpleman revealed to YorkMix ambitious plans to:

buy 15,000 toys to give to children in the war zone
deliver them in a purple bus
host a Christmas party on the Syrian border
open the first Purple School there to teach positivity and creative thinking.

New film released

Purpleman has set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise £15,000 in 21 days. He has sourced a supplier in Turkey and will be able to buy one toy per pound raised.

To help boost the appeal, he has released a film from his two previous missions to the Turkish-Syrian border, Love 3 War 0.

A moving watch, Richard J Tampion’s film shows the smiles and laughter Purpleman delivered along with the toys when he visited a school in Turkey’s Hatay Province, about 30 miles from Syria.

He said the children reacted “like they’d never seen a teddy bear before!”

He told us:

It’s fair to say some were nervous at first. I guess the strange men they are used to seeing in their lives often shoot guns or kill.

Once they knew why I was there it was hard not to be emotional – for all of us – children, parents, teachers and our volunteers.

Again, the power of a soft toy is immense – it can reduce grown men to tears and it did.

One million toys plan

The power of a cuddly toy… one girl shows what it meant to her
The power of a cuddly toy… one girl shows what it meant to her

On his previous missions, Purpleman has given out toys donated by people in York and beyond.

His new plan, to buy the toys in Turkey instead, could enable him to deliver 15K toys by Christmas, 100K by next March – and one million toys before July.

“I hated leaving children without a toy in January this year,” Purpleman explained; “so many millions of lost childhoods.

“There is much to be done as I am very convinced that this simple gesture can make a positive difference.

“We think of the gifts our children will receive at this time of year; these children don’t even have a soft toy to cuddle.”

Children who lost everything

With his friend the ‘the Syrian purpleman’ handing out toys
With his friend the ‘the Syrian purpleman’ out toys

Purpleman and his team met children who had lost everything due to the ongoing war in Syria.

All had forfeited their homes, he said – either because they had been destroyed or it was not safe to stay there. Most had lost relatives.

The little girl in the pink classroom in the film who is in tears before receiving a teddy with a purple vest on – she is a ‘100% orphan’ with no relatives and not a single person to care for her.

She was just dumped at the school but she is alive and thriving now.

I met one boy, aged four, who walked over to Turkey alone – parents and family all dead. He has a new best friend now – a soft toy.

Purpleman has booked his flight and will by leaving soon. An old bus has been sourced in Turkey and is being painted purple for the mission.

He will be delivering toys over the festive period and plans to host a children’s party on Christmas Day.

“I haven’t told my family I won’t be here for Christmas,” he said. “But this is way more important than personal indulgences.”

World’s first purple headteacher

War-hit children in a classroom in south-east Turkey after receiving their toys
War-hit children in a classroom in south-east Turkey after receiving their toys

His next big mission is to open at least one Purple School over there. A parallel funding campaign will raise money to buy a suitable building near the conflict zone, to be painted purple and refurbished.

The school will be free to all children with the focus on positivity.

It’s for everyone and ‘teaches’ positive thinking, optimism, creative thinking – music, art, free expression and ‘right brain’ subjects – no history, politics or religion!

We’ll have the world’s first purple headteacher! Staff will wear purple: it’s a positive colour for everyone to associate with.

His devotion to this cause may mean we have to get used to a Purpleman-free Stonegate.

He told YorkMix he is “not sure if PM will ever return to Stonegate/ Purplegate”.

Message for David Cameron


Two pictures drawn by Syrian children and given to Purpleman

The December mission will see Purpleman staying with Syrian refugees and also a “supportive Turkish family”.

“We will be moving around near the Syrian border, visiting camps, homes and schools.”

A man clad head-to-toe in purple driving a purple bus close to a war zone is likely to attract some attention.

Has he taken some advice and measures to keep out of danger?

Personal protection is available if required and we have reliable contacts but I do not want to see any weapons near me – they are banned. They are a nonsense.

The only advice I take is from my heart, so no contact has been made with any UK or other government. I trust the people who look after me and happily take advice from people who have been to the area themselves.

The news of his campaign breaks a day after MPs voted to allow British planes to bomb Isis targets in Syria.

His message to David Cameron? “Dave, come and join me, give me some love dude!

“Interestingly, I was PM years before DC; I wonder what would happen if we swapped jobs?”

And his wider message to the world:

I hope that, through this mission, subsequent trips and the schools that we can show these children, and the world, that soft toys and love have more power than violence.

Let’s bomb Syria – with toys!