AN appeal has been launched to help make Christmas special for deprived North-East youngsters.

The Salvation Army's Light Up a Child's Life campaign encourages shoppers at the MetroCentre, in Gateshead, to buy an extra gift for a youngster in need.

The appeal aims to help children under 16, so organisers are looking for toys, dolls, soft toys and games, along with cosmetic or perfume collections, jewellery, CDs, books and gift vouchers.

They can be donated at a stand in Town Square up until Christmas Eve.

This is the fourth year the MetroCentre has supported the campaign. Last year, a record 928 toys and £8,300 in cash was donated.

Captain Michael Barker and Major Linda Hunt of the Salvation Army launched the appeal at MetroCentre.

Capt Barker said: "MetroCentre shoppers supported our campaign in a big way last year and we are hoping the appeal will again bring lots of cheer to faces on Christmas Day."