It’s time to help us spread some festive cheer

FESTIVE PLEA: Sue Plunkett, Lt Maisie Veacock (back) , Laura Longworth and Rebecca Cohen at the launch of this year's Burnley Express Christmas Toy Appeal.

FESTIVE PLEA: Sue Plunkett, Lt Maisie Veacock (back) , Laura Longworth and Rebecca Cohen at the launch of this year's Burnley Express Christmas Toy Appeal.

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Today we launch the 18th Burnley and Padiham Express and Salvation Army Christmas Toy Appeal.

With just six weeks to go before the big day we are asking kind-hearted readers to once again pop an extra present on their list for needy children across the borough. The generous folk of Burnley and Padiham never fail to rally for the appeal and last year donated a fantastic 2,160 presents, the highest number ever collected. And the gifts made Christmas morning magical for 720 children.

Sue Plunkett, Lt Maisie Veacock, Rebecca Cohen and Laura Longworth at the launch of this years Burnley Express Christmas Toy Appeal.

Sue Plunkett, Lt Maisie Veacock, Rebecca Cohen and Laura Longworth at the launch of this years Burnley Express Christmas Toy Appeal.

We are asking for donations of toys and gifts for children from birth to the age of 16. Toys, books and games are welcome but they must be brand new. Selection boxes and other confectionery treats would also be welcome.

Express editor Mr Chris Daggett said: “Every year our kind and loyal readers support this appeal and it just gets more successful.

“We are honoured to work with the Salvation Army to make Christmas special for hundreds of children.’’

A special plea has gone out this year for toys suitable for babies under the age of three and also books for youngsters of all ages.

The gifts do not need to be wrapped and electrical items and DVDS are not suitable for the appeal. Donations of large black bin bags would also be welcome.

Drop-off points for the toys include the Burnley Express office in Bull Street, the Salvation Army Citadel in Richard Street, the Asda store in Princess Way, Burnley and Costa Coffee inside Tesco, Burnley. The toys are distributed through agencies in the borough and they are being asked to contact Lieutenant Maisie Veacock at the Salvation Army as soon as possible so they can be included in this year’s hand out of gifts. The closing date for toys to be donated is Tuesday, December 16th.

Lt Veacock said: “Times are getting tighter for everyone but every year the people of Burnley and Padiham always show how kind and generous they are by donating to the toy appeal. For many it has become a tradition that they always buy an extra couple of presents for the appeal and it helps to make such a difference to so many children.’’

Agencies can get in touch with Lt Veacock on 01282 415840 or 07723582984.