Thank you so much for your gifts of toys for needy children

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Generous readers have brought excited smiles to young faces this Christmas after an overwhelming response to our toy appeal.

We asked you to donate any unwanted or new toys to help two charities provide presents for local children.

Hundreds of games and gifts came through the doors of The News' offices after we launched our Christmas toy appeal to give the Salvation Army and Portsmouth-based Connors Toy Library a boost in donations.

Toys donated by readers in Havant, Fareham, and Gosport were given to the Salvation Army, while Portsmouth readers will reach families through Connors.

Claire Filson, of Chichester Road, North End, has two children who will benefit from the generous donations of readers of The News in the Portsmouth area.

Her two daughters, Amelia, three, and Megan, one, regularly play with the toys at Connors Toy Library with their nine-month-old cousin Barney.

'I used to take them to the toy library when I was on maternity leave, so I've seen what wonderful places the playgroups are,' said 35-year-old Claire.

'Now my mum takes them every week instead.

'They really enjoy it. It's important for them to be able to socialise with other children and I liked being able to meet other mums.

'We're lucky enough to be able to afford new toys but there are lots of children out there who aren't and it's amazing for them to be able to go to somewhere like Connors.

'I think the readers have been very generous and they couldn't have supported a more worthy cause.'

Connors Toy Library was in desperate need of donations after yobs wrecked and stole toys from its storehouse in Portsea in September.

Parents, carers and children from all walks of life meet each week at one of the 30 toy library sessions held across the city.

Boxes filled with puzzles, action figures, board games and building blocks were dropped into our offices across the area.

Melvyn Thomas, from the Salvation Army, said: 'I have been overwhelmed with people's generosity, but being a Pompey lad I knew they would come up trumps.

'We have helped in excess of 250 children and families with gifts this year. All the toys were sorted and given out to the needy children and we're just so grateful for the support.'

The Salvation Army delivered toys to children and families identified as being in need of help by social services, as well as food and other gifts.