THOUSANDS of underprivileged youngsters across the borough will be able to unwrap a gift this Christmas thanks to the annual Operation Santa appeal.

The Hope Trust’s traditional festive appeal has been bringing smiles to the faces of children since 1998 and this year a record 4,150 needy kids who would otherwise receive no presents are set to benefit.

Toys, games, books, selection boxes and all sorts of gifts have been pouring into appeal collection centres across the borough - one of the most active of which has been Blaze Hairdressing Salon in Lapwood Road, Kingswinford.

Salon manager Brett Harris and his team of five stylists have collected around 700 items for the appeal which is co-ordinated by Dudley Council for Voluntary Service in Brierley Hill.

Brett said: “We first got involved with the toy appeal last year.

“This year we started earlier and the response from everyone has been absolutely fantastic.

“I am so pleased we have been part of setting another record for the number of local children who will have something to smile about over Christmas.”

All items donated for the appeal are handed out to children living below the poverty line across the Dudley borough.

Volunteers work flat out in the run up to the festive season to collect and distribute the toys and games just in time for Christmas.