DORSET has given generously to the 12th Echo Christmas Toy Appeal to raise a fabulous £3,500, despite tough economic times.

Businesses and readers have provided money and presents, with touching stories behind some donations.

Families who don’t have the means to buy presents for their children will benefit from the appeal.

Among the last donors were a trio of selfless siblings who have given away their pocket money to children without toys.

Robbie, Ryan and Chloe Prowse of Chickerell raided their piggy banks to come up with £10 for the appeal.

Budmouth College student Robbie, 11, persuaded his brother and sister to give generously after reading about the appeal in the Dorset Echo.

He said: “It was very sad to see that there are some people who won’t get presents.

“I thought we could donate a few pounds so their mums could buy them a present.

“I asked Ryan and Chloe if they thought the same as me so we could help.”

Ryan, eight, who goes to Chickerell Primary School, said: “We decided that we wanted to help so we found what money we could from our money boxes.”

Chloe, six, who also goes to Chickerell Primary School said: “I hope the money can buy some cuddly toys for the children or a scooter.”

The children’s mum Larissa Prowse, 32, said: “It made me well up when I saw the envelope with their money in it.

“I’m always proud of them anyway so now I’m extra doubly proud.

“They did it all by themselves. It’s not a lot of money but it’s the thought that counts.”

The £3,500 total included £300 donated to our collection pots, £400 given by readers and £2,800 by businesses.

Many donated £100 with several giving more – including a £200 donation from Lulworth Castle, more than £300 from Synergy Housing and £500 from the Cheeky Kids foundation.

Another anonymous donor from Portland said: “I used to work distributing the presents on Christmas Eve and I’ve seen how much it means.

“Our family is very fortunate to live comfortably, and so we give every year to help those who aren’t as lucky.”

Echo retail coordinator Helen Curley said: “We have had another fantastic year of generous donations during what is a difficult financial time.

“The Echo would like to personally thank everyone who has helped us help families in our area have a bit more of a special Christmas this year.

“We would like to thank all of the businesses and organisations who have donated as well as those that have allowed Echo toy bins in their stores.

“The presents are now going out ready to be received by lots of happy children on Christmas Day.”

• THE last donation to the Echo Toy Appeal comes from Rib Rescue, which provides safety boat cover for events on the water.

The Weymouth-based company has given £100 to top up the funds raised and ensure every child gets a present this Christmas.

Business director Jock Nairn said: “Why not help local children have a merry Christmas?

“To imagine their happy faces as they receive the presents is a great feeling.

“This is a local company that is supported by the local community and we just thought why not give something back to it?

“We have supported two other charity events this year as I think it’s so important to invest in good causes.”

“There are many children in Dorset who are in less that fortunate circumstances and we hope to make this a better Christmas for them.”