PUPILS at a Darlington school have helped pack almost 250 shoeboxes with gifts for underprivileged children across Eastern and Central Europe.

Hundreds of students at Hummersknott School and Language College clubbed together to buy toys, sweets and presents to fill the boxes as part of Operation Christmas Child.

The appeal is organised by Samaritan's Purse and the boxes, along with thousands of others collected from schools, charities and churches nationwide, will be delivered to children in hospitals, orphanages, refugee camps and homeless shelters abroad.

Pupils at Hummersknott filled 243 shoeboxes and wrapped them in Christmas paper.

Carole Lowrie, head of chemistry at the school, said: "The pupils watched a video about the project and were very moved.

"Many of them bought a yellow toy duck to put in the boxes. We are selling the ducks to raise money for St Teresa's Hospice and so they were helping two charities at once."