WE’VE made it! The Bolton Lions’ Christmas toy appeal has hit its £30,000 target – thanks to YOU!

Now, hundreds of needy families right across Bolton will be able to have gifts for their children this Christmas. And youngsters who might not have had much festive cheer this year will definitely have something to smile about on Christmas morning.

The latest outpouring of kindness from local people included an anonymous gift of £5,000.

President of Bolton Lions, Ray Stafford, said: "People have been amazing. Businesses, organisations and individuals have all donated towards the appeal and demonstrated the real spirit of Christmas in a particularly difficult year. We just want to sincerely thank everyone.”

But Ray urged people to “please, keep on giving” as the Lions are expecting even more families to approach them before Christmas, urgently in need of help with festive gifts.

“We estimated £30,000 as the figure to reach for the numbers we were initially given by local charities and other organisations,” Ray added. “But we know that we need more money, both to ensure really decent gifts for individual children and as a contingency for people contacting us because so many families will be struggling with Christmas this year."

The appeal’s success is even more amazing as it was feared it would not take place at all this year. The Lions have been providing toys for needy local families at Christmas for the past 37 years but the pandemic meant fundraising events were cancelled and Lions’ older members shielding.

Bolton Action Group comprising of the University of Bolton, Bolton Wanderers Community Trust, Carr’s Pasties, Greenhalghs bakers, Lisa Forshaw PR, Bolton FM and other local businesses then got behind the appeal.

They were joined by the Bolton News, the Bolton Family, Bolton at Home and Urban Outreach to ensure the appeal happened this year.

Local businesses including Westhoughton-based cyber security experts Eventura, Horwich digital agency Absolute and family bakers Warburtons all made donations to help the appeal. Individuals baked cakes and took part in sponsored events to boost funds.

Keith Harris from Bolton FM said: “It’s nice that so many people in Bolton have come together to provide for those in need at Christmas. What was going to be a disaster with no appeal will now be happening.”

Lisa Forshaw, from Bolton Action and a driving force for the appeal, added: “This is what Bolton is all about – giving to those who need it. This is an amazing town with amazing people who really care for each other and who show it.”