CHILDREN'S charity the Samaritans Purse has taken over a warehouse in Pucklechurch to ensure needy children receive a present this Christmas.

The warehouse, on the village’s industrial estate, was used to store thousands of shoeboxes, packed full of gifts, goodies and useful items, which will be sent to underprivileged children in eastern Europe as part of a national Operation Christmas Child initiative.

Landlords SEGRO and agents Colliers International stepped in to provide the charity with a warehouse to handle the massive logistical effort which resulted in more than 15,000 shoeboxes being sent out to children in Kyrgyzstan and Belarus.

Samaritans Purse organiser Jenny Lippiatt said they could not have co-ordinated the Bristol-wide collection without the warehouse.

Jenny said: "Trying to collect and collate all these boxes without a suitably sized base to operate from would be next to impossible.

"Once again Segro and Colliers International pulled out all the stops for us to ensure this massive aid effort gets to its destination."

The boxes - packed by schools, churches and business across Bristol, Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare - have been filled with toys and other goodies for children aged between two and 14.

Packed onto an articulated lorry the boxes were dispatched in early December on the first leg of their sea, rail and road journey to Belarus in Eastern Europe and Kyrgyzstan on the borders of China and Pakistan.

Added Jenny: "We are hoping the shoeboxes will be delivered some time in February but this is a very long journey and we remain at the mercy of the rail network in Eastern Europe to get the boxes to their final destination.

"The response we have had has been brilliant considering we are in the third year of a recession.

"The aim is to bring a little happiness to children in these hard-pressed areas rather than deliver any church message as the boxes are delivered to children no matter what religion."