The Bolton News’ readers helped spread the true Christmas spirit when they backed the town’s annual Bolton Lions’ toy appeal to create a new record.

More families than ever before were given toys and gift vouchers with 946 local families supported.

There were 1,801 children helped with more than 8,340 toys for 0 to 11 year-olds and 411 £30 gift vouchers given to local 11 to 17 year-olds.

“It has been a remarkable year for support right across the borough,” stated Ray Stafford from Bolton Lions.

“We have been amazed by the generosity of people in a really tough year and we want to thank everyone who has helped us to make the appeal possible.”

He particularly wanted to thank The Market Place for working and storage premises, The Bolton News and Bolton FM for publicity and Seddons’ builders for making deliveries.

“We’re also very grateful to all the businesses and organisations which provided collection points, those which donated toys and cash and all the volunteers who helped with the bagging up of gifts.”

This year’s appeal attracted a particularly generous donation when Horwich businessman Simon Baker from construction and civil engineering specialists Ellenby Construction Co Ltd gave £20,000 to ensure local families could enjoy Christmas.

The Bolton Lions’ appeal has been running in the town for more than 40 years, working with around 45 local organisations including schools, health teams, children’s social care and partner charities.

Also read: Bolton Lions Christmas Appeal receives £20K donation

The Bolton News has worked with the famous service organisation in all that time and Bolton News’ Editor and Regional Group Editor Richard Duggan said the paper was “always proud to be involved in this important appeal.”

Organisers feared that the current cost of living crisis would affect donations and they would not be able to meet their target of helping all the families needing a festive helping hand.

“It’s wonderful to have successfully reached – and exceeded – all our targets”, added Ray Stafford. “And we will be trying to do it all over again next Christmas!”