HUNTS Post readers are once again being urged to help make a difference to a sick child at Christmas by donating a gift through our Holly’s Little Helpers campaign.

Last year, thanks to the tremendous generosity of readers, The Hunts Post was able to give away 100 presents to sick children who were either spending the festive season on Holly Ward at Hinchingbrooke Hospital, apart from their family and friends, or being cared for at home.

And we are calling on readers to make this Christmas another one to remember for young patients by donating a gift to our Holly's Little Helpers campaign.

Sarah Hughes, business manager for children's services at Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, helps to run the 25-bed ward.

She said: "We're really grateful to The Hunts Post and local people for supporting our children's services through the Christmas appeal - it makes such a difference to the children and their families.

"Last year the children on Holly Ward were absolutely delighted with the gifts provided by the appeal. It's always a difficult time for children in hospital at Christmas, so we all try that bit harder to make sure they don't miss out on festivities.

"Knowing that the local community supports the children through the appeal is a fantastic morale boost for both staff and the children and their families."

Among the gifts given last Christmas were cuddly toys, games and a talking Buzz Lightyear doll. Helping to hand them out on the day were Hunts Post editor Andy Veale, senior reporter Mark Shields, Huntingdonshire District Council chairman Jeff Dutton and Father Christmas himself.

And The Hunts Post can confirm that the great man - Father Christmas, that is - has already said he will be making the trip from Lapland especially to help with handing out any presents this year.

Mr Veale said: "Last year's campaign exceeded our expectations, and we would like to do the same again this year. It just proved to us that Huntingdonshire people, no matter what the economic climate, will always give to a worthy cause.

"So once again, we are asking you to dig deep and give a little something to children on Holly Ward."

INFORMATION: To make Christmas a little bit more special, simply pick up an extra book, toiletries set, game, DVD or toy and drop it in to The Hunts Post. Presents should be wrapped with a note to say what is inside and left at The Hunts Post office at 30 High Street, Huntingdon. The deadline for gifts is December 16.