The Dorset Echo Toy Appeal is back and we need your support to help disadvantaged children have a happy Christmas.

Each year a growing number of families facing hardship call on the Toy Appeal.

In 2017 our readers raised a record-breaking total of £4,644.52, and we need your help again to beat this target.

Now in its 19th year, the Christmas Toy Appeal never fails to show that the festive spirit is alive and well in the community. You can help by buying one extra present to go in a Dorset Echo Toy Appeal bin. All the toys collected will be distributed before Christmas to children who really appreciate them.

We are also looking for businesses to donate £100, which will be used to buy gifts and vouchers.

Here are a few Toy Appeal suggestions:

For children aged 0-3 - dolls, cars, building bricks, rattles, Vtech toys or similar.

For children aged 5-12 - board games, Magnetix, Lego, Barbie, remote control cars, action heroes, interactive toys, arts and crafts items.

For older children aged 13-16 - toiletries or perfume gift sets, gift vouchers, beauty sets, arts and crafts items.

Dorset Echo promotions manager Debbie Hellaby said: "We appreciate that this time of year is a challenge for every family, as each year we have an increasing number of applications made to the appeal for toys.

"We urge those who can to donate a new gift to one of our collection bins. We particularly struggle to source baby toys and gifts for children age 13-16 years, but will welcome any donations.

"Without the support of our readers and local businesses we would not be able to help put smiles on all those families' faces at Christmas, so a big 'thank you' in advance of your help."

Readers are reminded we are unable to accept second-hand, used or soft toys.

For more information contact Maureen Jolliffe on 01305 830811.

Businesses wishing to make a £100 donation should email

Collection points are accepting toy donations from today and will be based at:

Morrisons - Bridport

Toymaster - Bridport

Tesco - Dorchester

Toymaster - Dorchester

WH Smith - Dorchester

Mole Valley - Dorchester

Co-Op - Easton, Portland

Dorset Echo - Granby Industrial Estate, Weymouth

Tesco - Portland

Boo's Toyshop - Poundbury

Asda - Weymouth

Goulds Garden Centre - Littlemoor, Weymouth

Howleys - Frederick Place, Weymouth

Howleys - Junior Shop, Weymouth

Morrisons - Weymouth

Tesco - Weymouth town centre

WH Smith - Weymouth

Wilkinsons - Weymouth

Matalan - Weymouth

Kitchen Craft - Weymouth