THE fifth annual Giving Tree Appeal has been the most successful ever.

Presents for families in the Darlington area have been given to The Northern Echo, Asda and Alpha Radio, which have all been supporting the campaign.

Earlier this month, the appeal went out for shoppers to buy an extra Christmas present to be given to a disadvantaged young person.

The people of Darlington responded generously with presents of all shapes and sizes.

The gifts will now be sorted and distributed by Darlington Borough Council social services.

Councillor Bill Dixon, cabinet member for social services said: "I am never surprised by the generosity of Darlington people, but would like to thank everyone involved in the appeal and our partners from Alpha, Asda, Mill VW, Mardi Gras, Darlington CVS and The Northern Echo. Christmas is a time for giving and hopefully the efforts of all those involved, and those who gave, will help make Christmas special for those in need."

Among the gifts was a football shirt signed by the Sunderland football squad.