Former England player Rio Ferdinand has donated ₤ 500,000 worth of toys to needy children this Christmas.
The 38-year-old made the generous offer on behalf of himself and his Italian restaurant Rosso to the ‘Cash for Kids’ campaign, the official charity of Manchester radio station Key 103.
The ex-Manchester United defender said he ‘couldn’t bear’ to think of any child going without a gift on Christmas Day.
Ferdinand, who now works as a pundit on BT Sport, said: ‘As a father myself I couldn’t see children going without opening a present this Christmas Day – the work that Cash For Kids at Key 103 do is truly amazing.
‘ I’m glad that my restaurant Rosso and I can be involved in this and certainly help put a smile on locals kids’ faces this Christmas Day.’
The donation was made last week and an enormous pile of children’s toys arrived at the charity’s warehouse where they will now be handed out to children in poverty around the city.
Key 103 breakfast show host Mike Toolan was told about Ferdinand’s tweet this morning that mentioned the donation, and called him live on air.
The former England captain said: ‘Me and the guys at Rosso have seen what’s been going on in the city, and with obviously it being Christmas we know there are a lot of people less fortunate than we are so we’ve decided to donate ₤ 500,000 worth of toys and gifts.
‘ But Manchester has got to get behind what we are doing, everyone can get involved and donate what they can.’
Toolan, who admitted he was ‘shocked’, replied: ‘Half a million pounds? Rio I love you! Rio you’ve always done loads of good stuff for the city, you have changed so many lives in Manchester.’
Ferdinand said: ‘We’re not looking for a thank you, we’re just trying to help people out.’
Toolan told him: ‘I tell you what, one day you’re going to get some special attention from that big guy.’
The Cash for Kids Mission Christmas campaign provides help for children living in poverty, or those who have suffered abuse, deprivation or neglect across Manchester.
The charity said: ‘We can’t tell you what a difference this is going to make.’
In a further gesture of seasonal goodwill, Ferdinand has also donated 11,500 sleeping bags to the city’s homeless community.