Boxing clever to play Santa

THOUSANDS of presents have been dispatched from Northumberland to make a happier Christmas for needy children in Europe.

More than 7,800 shoeboxes of gifts were collected in the county in this year’s Operation Christmas Child appeal.

The gifts, which have been donated by individuals, schools, businesses, churches and other organisations, will be distributed to vulnerable children in Belarus, Bosnia, Romania and Serbia.

Northumberland Operations Supervisor Jack O’Kane said: “We’ve had shoeboxes from all over Northumberland — quite fantastic.

“It’s tremendous to see such kindness, particularly at a time when the economic downturn is hitting so many people.

“Everyone who has donated a shoebox can be absolutely certain that it will have a very positive impact on the child who receives it.”

He added: “On behalf of Operation Christmas Child I would like to say thank you to everyone in Northumberland who took part.

“It’s our 21st year and we are so grateful for every shoebox that has ever been donated — we know each one brings happiness to the child who receives it.”