VIDEO: Ribble Valley’s 16th annual festive toy appeal launch

The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times and the Ribble Valley branch of the Salvation Army have once again teamed up to launch their annual appeal to help families and children who might otherwise go without this Christmas.

For the 16th year running, the generosity of Valley residents will once again be called upon to help families less fortunate than themselves.

Elizabeth Smith and Brenda Wise from The Salvation Army

Elizabeth Smith and Brenda Wise from The Salvation Army

We are appealing for the donation of new toys and gifts for different age groups from babies to teenagers.

The premise of the appeal is that presents for any age of child or teenager can be donated, as long as they are new. The items will be distributed to families across the Ribble Valley, with the aim that each child receives a main gift, a craft item or game, a soft toy and a book.

Appeal co-ordinator Captain Elizabeth Smith, of the Clitheroe Salvation Army, said: "Last year we catered for 375 children in and around the Ribble Valley. We received some heart rending 'thank you' messages from parents who were grateful for the support, and so happy that their children had a wonderful Christmas due to the generosity of our community. We expect another increase in numbers this year, as more and more families are finding it very hard to provide for their children. We are confident in the kindness of our community, which has never let us down. The most difficult age groups to cater for are the 12 to 16-year-old boys and girls. It helps to imagine a child you know and think what would be a suitable gift for that child. We also need selection boxes."

She added: "Thank you to all who will donate. Your gifts will make a difference to a child's happiness this Christmas. For agencies who have children on their lists who would benefit from a Christmas parcel, please contact Elizabeth on 07709 351 394. We simply need ages and gender of the children, a home address and telephone number for home delivery, or agency details for collection."

Captain Elizabeth is also reminding people – of all ages – about the Christmas Day lunch.

She said: "We will be holding a lunch for people any age who may find Christmas a lonely time. This invitation is open to anyone, old or young male or female, single mums with children. If Christmas Day is a hard to get through, come and join us for good food, a friendly atmosphere, some entertainment, and a goody bag to take home. We open at 11-30am and finish around 3pm. Please ring Elizabeth to submit names. A telephone number and address is required to arrange transport."

Toys and donations can be dropped off at the Skipton Building Society in Market Place, Clitheroe, or at the new Salvation Army charity shop building (the former job centre site) on Lowergate in the town from Monday to Saturday between 10am and 3pm.