Toothbrushes, soap, sweets, footballs and skipping ropes were among the many Christmas gifts collected at Uxbridge College for children in Eastern Europe and Africa.

Students and staff helped collect 78 shoe boxes full of goodies for Operation Christmas Child, run by the relief organisation Samaritan's Purse.

Many groups of students included photographs of their tutor groups, postcards of where they live, and Christmas cards to the children who would get the boxes.

Ruth Truslove, Learning Advocate, oversaw the collections which were co-ordinated by students from the School of Business.

She said: "It has been a real team effort and people have been really passionate about getting involved in it. It can be hard to imagine that giving someone a toothbrush might make their day and this project has really made people think. It is really great to see how many caring, thoughtful young people we have got."

Since 1990, Operation Christmas Child has delivered gifts to more than 47 million children, collected by schools, colleges, churches, businesses and other supporters.

Last year many of the boxes went to children who were still suffering as a result of the Boxing Day Tsunami in 2004.

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