DONATIONS are flooding in to an annual toy appeal which will ensure several hundred disadvantaged Keighley youngsters get a present this Christmas.

The initiative is being spearheaded by the town’s Salvation Army, with backing from the Keighley News and Sainsbury’s supermarket.

“It’s still relatively early days but already we are doing really well,” said Chris Bown, Keighley Salvation Army’s community development manager.

“We are starting to get goods coming through from Sainsbury’s – which as before is kindly acting as a collection point – together with donations from churches, businesses and individuals.

“We’ve run the appeal for many years now and the backing from the town is always fantastic.

“Once again, people are being really, really generous. The public’s kindness is quite amazing.

“We’re extremely grateful to everybody who has given their support so far and hugely appreciate it.”

Among those who have contributed is Haworth man Chris Elwick, a previous supporter of the venture.

He has donated around 250 teddies.

The 41-year-old raised the funds through a swim in Salford Quays in May and by taking part in the York Marathon in October. Help was provided by his employer, Platinum Stairlifts.

The appeal will benefit up to 350 children, who would otherwise receive no presents on Christmas Day.

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

People are asked not to wrap them.

All the gifts will be distributed to families on December 22.

Children are nominated by Keighley schools, family centres, and agencies dealing with issues such as domestic violence.

Toys can be taken to the Salvation Army, in High Street, between 10am and 2pm Mondays to Thursdays, or to the Sainsbury’s store in Cavendish Street, Keighley. It is open from 7am to 10pm Monday-Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.