UNDERPRIVILEGED youngsters woke up to a happier Christmas this year thanks to generous Knutsfordians.

For the second year running, Chris and Dee Drake organised a successful toy appeal to benefit disadvantaged children in Manchester and Knutsford.

Many Knutsford volunteers and businesses got on board, including Wright Marshall Estate Agents, Celtic Toes Irish Dancers, B&M, and Egerton Primary School.

In the days before Christmas, more than 50 volunteers gathered at Leicester Warren Hall and worked throughout the day filling over 760 sacks with new toys and presents – 300 more than 2013.

The sacks were distributed by social workers and schools to children who would otherwise receive no gifts on Christmas Day.

Dee, whose friends and neighbours also volunteered to help, said: “I was totally overwhelmed by the number of people who volunteered tirelessly to ensure all the children had presents for Christmas and we were very happy to be able to help some Knutsford children this year.”

Sister Rita Lee, from Lalley Centre in Collyhurst, who operate the toy appeal, popped in at Leicester Warren Hall to thank the volunteers for giving up their time and was ‘overwhelmed’ with the amount of toys collected.

Collyhurst, in Manchester, has been ranked in the country’s top ten most-deprived areas, with 57 per cent of children thought to be living in poverty. A recent study by End Child Poverty also revealed that one in six Knutsford children are living below the poverty line.

Chris and Dee wanted to thank all of the volunteers, those who donated toys, the Knutsford businesses who hosted drop-off points and Leicester Warren Hall’s Kate Shenton.

The couple extended their thanks to Rita Henderson and Celtic Toes Irish Dancers, who did a sponsored dance which raised over £300, and Hannah Locke, Rachael Neale, and Dianne Quinn, who helped organise the event.

Anyone who would like to help out with 2015’s toy appeal should contact Dee at deedrake@hotmail.co.uk.