In excess of 3.5 tonnes of food - a record amount - was donated to the St Neots Foodbank during the first three weeks of December.

This included the Tesco collection of 127 crates weighing in at 1.48 tonnes and the hampers from Longsands and Ernulf academies which provided 555kg and their sixth formers added another 260 kg.

Then there were the various normal collections on top to make up the total.

Project manager Adrienne Dunn said: "This amazing collection has meant that we provided 244 food parcels, which is an increase of 17 per cent on last year, to make Christmas a little brighter for local people in need."

She added: "During this year we have fed 1400 local people with three-day food parcels. As well as this we have given food to vulnerable people, who arrive in St Neots with nothing but a few possessions.

And we have supported people in crisis by listening to their problems and sign-posting where they can get further help."