STAFF at a new hospital hope to spread festive cheer among poor children across the world this Christmas.

Nurses and back-up staff at Durham's University Hospital of North Durham, which opened earlier this year after the closure of Dryburn Hospital, have filled 100 shoe boxes with goodies.

The boxes will be collected by Operation Christmas Child and distributed to under-privileged youngsters in foreign parts.

The appeal asks people to give things such as toys and games, toiletries, sweets, clothing and school supplies.

Margaret Best, nursing director for the North Durham Health Care Trust that runs the hospital, said: "It's just a magnificent effort.

"We have got more than 100 boxes with items given by the clinical teams.

"In the middle of being so terribly busy with the move to the new hospital they have thought of somebody else.

"It is the third year we have supported the appeal. It might be the only gift that some children get this Christmas.'