TOY shoppers at one Weymouth store are doing their bit for the Echo’s Christmas Toy Appeal.

While stocking up on children’s toys ready for Christmas day, customers at Howley’s Toymaster in Great George Street are also donating generously to help needy youngsters during the festive season.

All three Toymaster stores in the town have backed the appeal since it began and are proud to do so again.

Branch manager Pete Healey said he hoped customers at the Great George Street store, which is dedicated to pre-school toys, would donate generously.

He said: “This year the Neverland Pirate toys are really popular with younger children so hopefully a few of those will get donated.

“We have taken part for years and each year we’re overwhelmed by people’s generosity.”

Staff at Howley’s Toymaster are hoping that they will top their previous collection records.

Toys can be donated to appeal bins in shops and businesses across the local area.

Each year the Echo office in Weymouth has been full of sacks of presents before social workers take them to give to needy children for Christmas Day.

Both Echo offices in Weymouth and Dorchester are accepting donations.

The appeal is also seeking businesses willing to donate £100 to top up the funds raised and ensure every child who has signed up receives a gift.

Mr Healey added: “We are encouraging all of our customers to donate a toy and make a child happy. We’re very appreciative to be allowed to take part, because the appeal does a lot of good work for the community. We have got the charity collection point located at the front of each of our stores.”

Last year more than £3,300 was raised and hundreds of new toys donated to underprivileged children across Dorset to open on Christmas Day.

All the gifts collected will go to children who may have suffered neglect, abuse, be living in refuges with their mothers or in the care of families who simply cannot afford to buy them something special for Christmas.

HOW TO DONATE TO THE DORSET ECHO TOY APPEAL BUSINESSES: Please donate £100. In previous years this has been amazingly successful and has been the main way that the toy appeal has been able to provide toys and gifts to needy children.

Every donation is gratefully received – and all those donating £100 will be featured in the Echo.

To donate £100 call Debbie Hellaby on 01305 830815 or email debbie.

Last year more than 30 businesses donated to the toy appeal.

READERS: Simply text 80360 with ECHOTOY.

Texts cost £3 plus your normal operator text charge.

Text lines close on December 16 at 23.59pm. Service provided by Newsquest Media Group. After network charges which vary between networks, all profit which is approx £2 per text, will be donated to the toy appeal.