ONE man's foodbank nomination challenge has been described as a "Christmas miracle" after it went viral.

New father, Watson Harrop, of Bishop Auckland, decided to call for action after noticing other families struggling at this time of year.

The Northern Echo:

CHALLENGE: Watson Harrop from Bishop Auckland launched a food bank challenge which has gone viral Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Visiting his local Tesco store last Thursday, the 29-year-old filled a trolley full of food before donating it to the store's foodbank collection bin.

He made a video at the same time and nominated other friends to take up the challenge with the hashtag FoodbankNomination.

Mr Harrop, who is also a harness racer, said he hoped a few friends would follow suit but did not expect the video to go viral after it was shared thousands of times.

He then started receiving videos of other people donating from across the world including in America, Australia and Europe.

Hundreds of trollies filled with everything from canned soup to mince pies and Christmas presents have been left at supermarkets with the Bishop Auckland store receiving three tonnes of food - the equivalent of 4,000 meals - over the weekend alone.

Huge donations have also been left at stores in Darlington and across the North-East, while some are even dropping them into foodbanks directly, with volunteers saying they have never seen anything like it.

The Northern Echo:

CHALLENGE: Watson Harrop from Bishop Auckland launched a food bank challenge which has gone viral, pictured Keeden Forrest dropping his donation off at TESCO in Bishop Auckland Picture: SARAH CALDECOT

Returning to Bishop Auckland's Tesco store with his three-month-old daughter La'Vencia, yesterday, Mr Harrop said he was humbled by the response and wanted to thank everyone who had donated, especially the Travelling community and businesses and organisations such as Life and Light Missions in Darlington, BA Designs in Bishop Auckland and Cleveland Cars, in Middlesbrough.

He said: "I shop here and I always used to put something in the collection bin but it never seemed to get any fuller and since I had my little girl it really brought it home to me that some families are struggling.

"People aren't aware that supermarkets have these collections so I thought the publicity would bring awareness and encourage others."

"I expected it to take off but not like this - it's avalanched," he added. "This store took three tonnes of food over the weekend and that's just for a small market town.

"It just shows how a community can pull together."

The Northern Echo:

GIVING: Watson Harrop is pictured with John Robinson with his grandson Billy Metcalfe dropping a donation off Picture: SARAH CALDECOTT

Mr Watson encouraged everyone to get involved with the challenge whether they could donate a tin of soup or a trolley full.

Tesco store manager Andrew Usher and community champion, John Bailey, said the response had been "absolutely brilliant" and they were working hard to get the donations out to local foodbanks and charitable organisations.

Mr Usher said: "It's the most we have ever seen."

Caroline Todd, manager of the foodbank at King's church, in Darlington, called it a "Christmas miracle" as they had been inundated with donations.

To take part in the challenge simply take a video of you with your donation and nominate friends to do the same using the hashtag #FoodbankNomination

You can find Mr Watson on Facebook but he has also set up a page called The Foodbank Nomination where people can share their videos.