The Keighley News is joining forces with the town’s Salvation Army to bring cheer to hundreds of needy children and families during the festive season.

Your favourite weekly read is combining with the charity as it launches its annual Christmas Toy Appeal.

About 150 families and more than 300 youngsters received gifts thanks to last year’s partnership.

And numbers needing help are likely to be even higher this year given the current economic climate.

Another major partner in the appeal is Sainsbury’s in Keighley, which has agreed to act as a drop-off point for people donating gifts and toys.

Salvation Army spokesman, Chris Bown, said: “This year we are expecting the appeal to be as busy as, if not busier than, usual.

“The increase we’ve seen in people asking for food parcels this year shows people are suffering badly from lack of funds.

“We usually collect about £2,000 in the Airedale Shopping Centre in December, but this year we are only going in for a collection once, on December 8, so the carol collections will be well down.

“Also, we have received less donations of money through the year, so we’ve less to spend on toys and food. Hopefully, donations will pour in during December.”

Keighley News editor, Richard Parker, said “We’re delighted to back the Salvation Army’s Christmas Toy Appeal again this year.

“While we appreciate these are difficult times for us all financially, we ask as many readers as possible to do all they can to ensure every child in town has something to smile about at Christmas.”

Donated presents must be new and should be suitable for children and teenagers up to the age of 16. People have until December 18 to give.

To raise extra funds, people are being asked to sponsor a Christmas tree, which will be displayed in the Salvation Army church throughout December.

Chris added: “If any person, society, or business would like to sponsor a tree we would be happy to hear from them. Please contact myself or Alison Gardner on 01535 603494. We’re grateful to everyone for their support.”