HOMELESS people in Darlington will receive a special Christmas gift this year after dozens of shoe boxes full of surprises were put together.

The generosity came from Darlington Housing Association, which collected 39 shoe boxes full of hats, sweets, toiletries and a special Christmas cracker and card, as well as other little surprises.

Originally, the housing association only planned to create a couple of boxes, but after such high demand they managed to put together 35 boxes for men and four boxes for women.

After approaching First Stop, a drop-in centre for those in need, the shoe boxes will be handed out in the town centre to help bring joy to those who don’t have anywhere to stay this Christmas.

Scheme manager Susan Gray said: “We’re all really surprised and proud at how much we have achieved this year and hopefully we will be able to achieve even more next Christmas.”

As well as putting together the shoe boxes, the housing association went one step further this year when it contacted Calandar Cakes, which has provided a Christmas cake for the day.