A NINE-year-old girl set herself a mission to collect as many toys and selection boxes as possible, and distribute them to children for Christmas in Darlington.

On Saturday, Daisy Simpson, her family and friends, Deputy Mayor of Darlington Cyndi Hughes and staff from Morton Park Morrisons met at Harrowgate Hill Methodist to wrap over 240 presents for children.

Daisy was inspired to collect donations of toys and selection boxes after she raised £1,000 in October, so that children would not go hungry over half-term.

Daisy set up donation points at her school Heathfield Primary, and at Morrisons in Morton Park with the help of Community Champion, Sandra Mellor.

She also had help from Mr Q, the Darlington Football Club mascot, Peter Miller, who also goes as his drag persona Miss Annbag, friends from the Darlington Football Club under 10 and under 12s, which Daisy is a team member of, and their parents.

Cheryl Patterson, Daisy's mam, who has been helping her throughout, said: "I think it's fantastic, we're all really proud of her as a family."

Daisy, who is in Year 5, said: "It was good to help people who are struggling and struggling families at Christmas. I feel very proud.

On Facebook Deputy Mayor of Darlington, Cyndi Hughes said: "Delighted as Deputy Mayor to meet Daisy Simpson, her dedicated family and her many friends as they engaged in a marathon gift wrapping session at Harrowgate Hill Methodist Church today.

"The joy that Daisy’s initiative (with the generous support of all donors) will bring to children and young people in Darlington during this difficult Christmastime is truly heartwarming. A special shout out to Sandra Mellor from Morrison’s and Miss AnnBag (Peter Miller, Darlo Radio) who brought their special skills and talents to make the day sparkle."

The gifts will go to vulnerable families who have children aged from birth to 16-years-old.

Social distancing was in place at the church while the hundreds of gifts were wrapped.

Cheryl said: "In October half-term we raised money to make lunch bags.

"Then Daisy said she would really like to do something, can we do a toy appeal. There's a lot of people struggling this year.

"Her primary school came on board.

"We started around about the beginning of November."