A CHARITY is celebrating after it sent its 100 millionth shoebox full of presents to a needy child to open at Christmas.

Operation Christmas Child was set up in 1990 to send shoeboxes of goodies to needy children in 100 countries around the world.

It reached its milestone of delivering 100 million boxes at Christmas 2012.

So far over the last 23-years more than 16,700 shoeboxes have been given to the scheme from County Durham residents.

Chris Thomson, County Durham regional manager for Operation Christmas Child, said: “For some of the children who receive these gifts, this shoe box will be the first gift they have ever received.

“We’re so grateful that despite the recession people have really gone the extra mile this year to pack shoeboxes and that we’ve been able to reach our 100 millionth shoebox.

“I’d like to thank the volunteers at our collection sites and all those who packed an Operation Christmas Child shoe box gift.”

Details on Operation Christmas Child can be found on-line at www.operationchristmaschild.org.uk.