Volunteers in St Ives loaded more than 8,000 shoeboxes laden with Christmas gifts into lorries ready for export around the world.

A team of about 120 were hard at work at Burleigh Hill Farm sorting and loading thousands of shoeboxes donated from all over East Anglia, as part of the Operation Christmas Child and Samaritan’s Purse Appeal.

The boxes will be shipped to developing countries, where they will be handed out to children who may not otherwise have a gift to open at Christmas.

Volunteer Sue Shorter, who has overseen the work in St Ives, said: “We have had support from 120 volunteers from around the area, including from the Bluntisham scouts, St Ives sea scouts, youth clubs, and students from Cambridge Regional College’s Huntingdon campus.”

Operation Christmas Child was launched in 1991. Boxes from St Ives has already been sent to Liberia, in Africa, and others will soon be heading out to northern Iraq.