THIS year’s Caring Christmas appeal has been hailed as a huge success.

A total of 909 children received gifts — the largest number since 2009, when there 926 youngsters benefited from the appeal.

This extra special appeal has been running for more than 30 years, organised by the Bolton Lions charity in conjunction with The Bolton News.

In this time, thousands of children and teenagers have been able to enjoy Christmas, whereas without the appeal they would have faced a very bleak festive season.

Bolton Lions, who are all volunteers, gave up their time and energy to collect toys and gifts donated at the various collection points throughout Bolton, put them into sacks at the warehouse where the toys are sorted and delivered them to the families. This year there were 581 families in Bolton who received sacks filled with gifts.

Lion John Crompton said: “We want to say a really big thank you to everyone who donated gifts or money to the appeal — without them we would not be able to help the families who need our assistance every year.

“We know times are hard for many people so every single penny donated is much appreciated. It is heartening to know that people are so willing to help.

“They have ensured the hundreds of families we help have enjoyed Christmas.”

Although the appeal is over for another year, the fundraising goes on for the Lions, who collects all year round for the annual event.