A CHARITY that delivers shoeboxes full of Christmas presents to some of the world’s poorest children has thanked County Durham residents for helping it reach a major milestone.

Since its launch in 1990, Samaritan's Purses Operation Christmas Child has seen 100 million shoeboxes delivered to youngsters in more than 100 countries.

County Durham residents are being thanked for playing their part in spreading this much-needed festive cheer.

Last year, individuals, community groups, schools, colleges and workforces across the county donated more than 16,700 gift filled shoe boxes, which were sent to vulnerable children in Romania and Serbia.

Chris Thomson, County Durham regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, said: “I would like to thank the volunteers at our local collection sites and all those who packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift.

“For some of the children who receive these gifts, this shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.

“Thank you again to everyone who took part in this project. A simple gift, packed with love, can communicate hope to children worldwide.”

Samaritan’s Purse is now asking all residents to continue making a difference by supporting this year’s campaign. Visit operationchristmaschild.org.uk