CHILDREN put their best foot forward in aid of youngsters in Africa – who are accused of being witches.

As well as completing a walk around Queens Park, the youngsters were encouraged to take advantage of the typical Bolton weather and splash in as many puddles as possible.

The event was in support of Safe Child Africa, a protection charity that supports vulnerable and marginalised children.

It helps children, some as young as two-years-old, who are tortured, abused and neglected because their families believe they are child witches.

Deb Drinkall, whose children Ellis, aged six, and Gabriel, aged four, took part in the event, said: “This is a great way of getting friends together and having a play with an outdoor focus. At the same time it raises cash for kids who are in the most dire situations imaginable.”

Her daughter Ellis said: "I think it’s really unfair that people think just normal children are witches.

"But it’s good that we can help get money for them by doing fun things."

In some parts of Africa, the belief in witchcraft is still as strong as it was in parts of Europe more than 400 years ago.

In 2016, the problem of child witchcraft accusations was brought to international attention when the story of two-year-old Hope hit the headlines after he was found wandering the streets emaciated and dehydrated.

Safe Child Africa was established more than 10 years ago to help children in these situations.

Charity official Lisa Atkinson said the fundraising event, which was held on Wednesday, April 12, was 'perfect' for families with young children.

She said: "It’s a sponsored walk but with a difference - we’ve tailored it to fit in with the wet weather we are so accustomed to in Bolton. In fact where this event is concerned the wetter the weather, the better."

Locals are encouraged to organise their own events by taking advantage of a fundraising pack provided by the charity.

For more information, email or call 0161 637 0650.