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Ask most children what they want for Christmas and you're likely to get a very long and expensive list.

So when staff at a community centre asked youngsters what their Christmas wishes were, they were surprised to receive dozens of profound messages of peace.

Every year, children are invited to decorate a Christmas tree at the Nimrod Community Centre, in Nimrod Drive, Rowner, Gosport.

This year, they were asked to write a Christmas wish to hang on the tree, and their responses were a festive treat for the centre's volunteers.

'We thought they would be asking for lots of different presents, or computer games,' said community development officer Jacky Charman.

'But instead we're seeing things like, "I wish everyone was with their family."

'We have never seen Christmas messages like this.

'People want to knock the kids of today, but these messages show a real awareness.'

Some of the messages from the children of Siskin Junior School, in Nimrod Drive, included:

'I wish everybody could have their families with them.'

'I wish for peace and harmony to be restored to the world.'

'I wish everyone was with their families on Christmas Day.'

'I wish all the homeless people had homes this Christmas.'

'I wish that all the war in the world would stop'.

Debbie Delahaye, 49, of Oakthorn Close, Gosport, a volunteer at the community centre, said she couldn't stop crying when she read the selfless words of the youngsters.

'It's really beautiful to see the kids coming out with these things,' said Debbie.

'Usually we just ask them to make stars and shapes to hang on our tree for Christmas.

'But this year we thought it would be a good idea for them to write wishes on the back of shapes and put those on the tree for everyone to see instead.

'They've thought of everybody else other than themselves.

'They obviously know there is more to Christmas than just toys and games.'