SMILES will lighten the faces of approximately 400 children on Christmas Day in Eastern European countries thanks to the generosity of those who contributed to the Portland Methodist Christmas Child Shoebox Appeal.

The big collection of boxes was blessed before dispatch by Portland Methodist Superintendent the Rev Chris Briggs in church during a coffee morning held by Casterbridge Male Voice Choir in Easton Methodist Hall.

In addition to the filled boxes, from individuals, schools, retirement homes and organisations within the borough, other donations were made including a quantity of hand-knitted clothing for children living in the harsh winter conditions of Eastern Europe.

The scheme co-ordinator, Gill Greenwood, said: “It never fails to amaze me that despite our own economic situation, people can be so generous to the less fortunate.”