A CHRISTMAS toy appeal has got off to a flying start.

Donations have already started arriving at the Salvation Army centre in Keighley.

The church – in conjunction with the Keighley News and Sainsbury's – last week launched its annual appeal, to provide several hundred needy children with toys on Christmas Day.

Chris Bown, the Salvation Army's development manager, says: "It is still early days but we have had a good initial response from the public.

"Some donations of toys and money have been brought in, for which we are very grateful.

"It is an encouraging start."

The toy appeal usually helps about 350 youngsters, who are nominated by Keighley schools, family centres and agencies dealing with issues such as domestic violence.

But it is feared that a massive rise in the number of Keighley children living in poverty could send demand soaring.

Sainsbury's is the main collecting point in the town but items can also be taken directly to the Salvation Army in High Street, between 9am and 3pm Mondays to Thursdays.

Donated toys must be new, and should be suitable for children and young people — boys and girls — up to the age of 16.

People can also give toiletries for teenagers, or money, if preferred. Items should be taken to collecting points unwrapped.

All the donated gifts will be wrapped and distributed to families on Christmas Eve.

Contact Mrs Bown on 01535 603494 if you can help or require any further information.

* Keighley Salvation Army stages its final tabletop sale of the year at the centre on Wednesday (Dec 10), from 10am to 2pm.

All proceeds will go to the church's community projects, including the toy appeal and food bank.