ONE thousand children will wake up to a happier Christmas this year thanks to the generosity of Knutsfordians during a festive toy appeal.

Organised by Twemlow Green residents, Chris and Dee Drake, the Lalley Toy Appeal has had an ‘overwhelming’ response, resulting in almost 25 per cent more toy sacks for children than in 2014.

More than 200 volunteers turned up at Leicester Warren Hall on Wednesday December 2, working throughout the day to fill 1,000 sacks with new toys and presents.

The appeal is organised on behalf of the Lalley Centre, which is based in Manchester. All of the sacks will be distributed by social workers and schools to children who would otherwise receive no presents on Christmas Day, including 60 requests received for Knutsford families.

Dee said "We've been overwhelmed by the support shown this year. We simply cannot undertake this appeal without this level of support. Our Justgiving page alone has raised thousands, as well as the toy donations, which have totalled over 9000 toys, books, footballs and teddies.

“What I love about this appeal is that we provide a sack full of toys for each child, boys and girls up to 17 years old, they don’t just receive one present, the volunteers take time to make up a sack specific to that child, including books, teddies, games, footballs, selection boxes.

“We sometimes take for granted that we can provide for our children, family and friends, at this time of year.

“This appeal shows as a community we can work together and help bring some Christmas happiness to local children in need.

“We're looking forward to the 2016 appeal and have started planning it.”

This year marks the third year that the appeal has been operated from Knutsford, and it relies on donations of toys to provide a sack of gifts for underprivileged youngsters across the poorest areas of Manchester, and it also includes Knutsford

A recent study by End Child Poverty revealed that one in six Knutsford children are living below the poverty line.

Dee added: “We have so many people and companies to thank including Leicester Warren Hall, Cheshire Brick Lettings & Management, The Linen Loft, Priory Van Hire, Cardinal Maritime, Towry, The Print Room in Holmes Chapel, Quinn Civils, KDR Recruitment, Parkers Designs, LIFT-Financial, Egerton Primary school, Yorston Lodge, Gascoigne Halman, Asda, Swansway Group and many more and all of our drop off points.”