MOST children in Bolton have been writing and rewriting their Christmas lists, dreaming of what will fill their stockings this Christmas. However, for many children in the area the day is not so joyous as reality sets in that there will be no presents under their tree.

Hundreds of poverty-stricken children from the most disadvantaged communities will come down the stairs to no presents on Christmas day as parents struggle to make ends meet.

The Bolton Lions are marking their 37th year of their Big Christmas Toy Appeal aiming to provide as many as six toys each to child in the community who would otherwise go without.

Previous years have informed us that more than 1000 children in Bolton might otherwise not have any presents to unwrap this Christmas.

The appeal calls for people to donate any new or second hand, good condition toys at drop off points across the borough. Last year 90% of toys that were given to the cause were brand new, showing the generosity and compassion of those getting involved with the scheme.

Mr Crompton who heads the appeal for the club said, “My children are grown up now, and other Lions members are grandparents, but we all remember the delight that toys give to a child and how their faces light up on Christmas morning when they are unwrapping their presents.”

“The appeal is a way of allowing other children to experience that happiness. The people of Bolton have always come through for us and I’m optimistic that they will be as generous as always this year.”

Last year alone, the annual toy appeal had applications from 651 families in need and went on to provide 1,274 children with toys on Christmas day thanks to the donations from the community.

Demand has increased each year previously and is expected to increase further again this year. The Lions attribute the ever-rising levels of applications to the increasing deprivation in areas of Bolton.

John explained “When the appeal began, we were providing toys for around 200 children. In more recent years, the average is around 1,000 children.”

Schools, social workers, children’s homes and churches are invited by the Bolton Lions to sign up and inform them of how many children they have in need as well as their genders and ages.

Volunteers and members of the Bolton Lion’s collect the presents from their designated drop off locations. They then sort and sack up the presents into individual children’s piles. They are then passed on discreetly to the children’s homes ready for the surprise on the big day.

A spokesperson for Asda Bolton, who have often supported the appeal, previously said “It just feels fantastic to have an influence and make a difference by collecting these toys.”

The Lions have in the past have talked about how they struggle to cater for the older children in their early teens. With a cut off sixteen, those wishing to help need to also think beyond dolls and model race cars.

Mr Crompton said: “We have a cut-off age of 16 but when we are helping out whole families, there’s no way we wouldn’t provide gifts just because some of the members are 17 or 18. Smellies like Lynx or perfume are always popular gifts for that age group.”

The collection kicks off on November 18th and once again you can bring your donated toys to The Bolton News office at The Wellsprings just off Victoria Square. You can find out more information and the extensive list of drop off points over at