A CHARITY which makes a huge difference to the lives of people in need is celebrating a successful festive week.

Lend a Hand Horwich volunteers spent the last week travelling all around Horwich, Blackrod and Westhoughton delivering toys, Christmas parcels and handmade "virtual hugs" to families in need of extra help as well as to elderly, disabled, and vulnerable people the area.

As founder Denise Silcock explained, this took months of planning, organising and collections before the big week arrived.

She said: "Christmas Cheer was definitely on Santa's List as cheeky elves and Santa's little helpers went out and about delivering Christmas bags full of toys, for our lovely local families who need a little help at the moment and to put big smiles on little faces this Christmas

She added: "It's the little things that make a massive difference at Lend a Hand and we are so blessed to have the most wonderful volunteers.

"It was overwhelming to see everyone's hard work come together over the weekend and share the true Spirit of Christmas."

But the group couldn't have managed this all alone and Ms Silcock paid tribute to all the people and organisations who made Lend a Hand's Christmas week possible.

She said: "A massive thank you to Billa of Homeless Aid UK for the wonderful donation of toys, Dina Varsani of Devine Hair & Beauty in Horwich for being our drop off point and collecting more toys.

"To Maggs at Tesco Horwich Community for the brilliant donation of Christmas Bags and lots of Chocolates,to all our Natty Knitters and Cool Crocheters for their stunning virtual hugs, blankets, scarves, hats and cuddly creatures, plus Bridie Tonge at Yarns for being a drop off point.

"To Cafe at Heaton and all our star bakers for their delicious shortbreads, the amazing Al Straughton aka The Cheeky Elf and all our absolutely incredible volunteers, Andrea Ribbi Braddell with Santa's little helpers Claire Marr, Julie Markendale-Brettell and Eric Grindle."

She added: "Our little group has grown into a wonderful family we support and care for each other and its definitely here to stay.

"Everything we do is free and we currently run with no funding at all.

"We're so very proud of everything we have done and together we've been able to help hundreds of lovely folk."