A CHARITY that delivers shoeboxes full of Christmas presents to some of the world’s poorest children has thanked North-East residents for helping it reach a major milestone.

Since its launch in 1990, Samaritan Purses’ Operation Christmas Child has seen 100 million shoeboxes delivered to youngsters in over 100 countries.

And residents of County Durham, Darlington, North Yorkshire and Teesdale are being thanked for playing their part in spreading this much-needed festive cheer.

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Last year, individuals, community groups, schools, colleges and workforces across the region donated more than 23,000 gift filled shoe boxes, which were sent to vulnerable children in Romania and Serbia.

Chris Thomson, regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, said: “I would like to thank the volunteers at our local collection sites and all those who packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift.

“For some of the children who receive these gifts, this shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.

“Thank you again to everyone who took part in this project. A simple gift, packed with love, can communicate hope to children worldwide.

“We’re so grateful that, despite the recession and the hardship, everyone is feeling people have really gone the extra mile this year to pack shoeboxes with love and because of that we’ve been able to reach our 100 millionth shoebox.”

Samaritan’s Purse is now asking people to continue making a difference by supporting this year’s campaign. Visit operationchristmaschild.org.uk