A NEW competition has been launched in support of the Bolton Lions Toy Christmas toy appeal.

Children are being encouraged to get crafty and come up with their most festive creations for a Christmas card design challenge.

All that's being asked in return is a small donation to the annual toy appeal so needy families will have something to smile about on Christmas morning.

The Lions have been providing toys for local families for the past 37 years but the pandemic meant fundraising events were cancelled.

Bolton Action Group and other local businesses then got behind the appeal. They were joined by the Bolton News, the Bolton Family, Bolton at Home, Impression, and Urban Outreach and the £30,000 target has now been reached - but there's still more work to do.

There are three categories for the card competition - age 1 to 5, 6 to 9, and 10 plus.

One winner of the best Christmas card design in each category will receive £50 and a runner up £25. Designs will also be highlighted in the Bolton News and winners will get 50 cards to send to friends and family.

Keith Harris of Bolton FM said: “Although the toy appeal reached its initial target, in the current climate there are still more people we need to help. We just wanted to help give back to the kids and give them something to enjoy."

“It’s been a very tough time and the fundraising was slow at first but when the going gets tough Bolton gets going as they say.

“It’s all been going superbly recently after a slowish start. It was hard work at the beginning as the Lions have spent so many years doing what they do a certain but for people to donate even during these tough times is great.

“It’s still important to keep donating but the Bolton family has been amazing so far.”

Kaye Price, a principle at KP Financial Wellbeing, said: “As a member of Bolton Action, KP Financial Wellbeing wanted to continue with the Christmas spirit and continue to raise funds for the Lions Toy Appeal.

“I have three daughters and Christmas is a special time for us as it is for all families and with so many of us having children off school we thought it would be a great idea to get everyone involved in making their own cards."

“This Christmas will be different for a lot of us so let's do the things we enjoy together and keep our children smiling.”

Steve Thompson, editor of the Bolton News, said: "This is just another great example of brilliant Bolton businesses coming together for the benefit of the town - and this is a great chance for a budding artist to see their Christmas design on a real Christmas card. I'm sure we'll get some fantastic entries and I can't wait to see the winners."

Email entries to admin@boltonfm.com and also tag @BolonAction on social media. The closing date is December 11.