The Salvation Army has paid tribute to the incredible generosity of Wiltshire Times readers after they donated a record-breaking number of toys to our Christmas appeal.

The annual toy drive ended on Saturday, after the deadline was moved forward to allow extra items to come in. Most of the donated toys have now been delivered to families across west Wiltshire, with gift parcels given to 95 children in total, who each received four different items.

This marks a 20 per cent increase on last year’s appeal, when a similar number of children were able to receive three toys each.

Stephen Smith, of the Salvation Army in Trow-bridge, said: “We would like to thank all who have given so generously to our Christ-mas present appeal; we have been able to provide festive cheer for nearly 100 children and young people who would otherwise have woken on Christmas morning to little or nothing.”

Our readers have been donating presents over the last few weeks at our office in Trowbridge, the town’s Tesco Extra and the Sainsbury’s store in Bradford on Avon. Several churches around the county have also held special toy services, when parishioners have come together to collect toys for the appeal.

Mr Smith said: “We have had some tremendous stuff in, people have been very generous. To have that increase in the current financial climate is absolutely heart-warming.

“We have been overwhelmed by both the quantity and quality of new gifts donated, which is testimony to the generosity of West Wiltshire people.

“It has been a pleasure to be able to pass these on to local families who find themselves in need of a little help this Christmas.”

Editor Gary Lawrence said: “Every year we ask our readers to share some Christmas spirit with those less fortunate than themselves and every year they come up trumps. I’m really pleased and touched that, thanks to their generosity, scores of children will have something to open on Christmas morning. I’d like to echo the thanks of the Salvation Army in saying thank you for supporting our appeal.”