Christmas is coming to needy children in Eastern Europe and Asia thanks to an annual collection by a Blyth academy.

Students at Bede Academy North donated 123 shoeboxes filled with toys, classroom equipment, hats and gloves, and toiletries, while younger children at the academy’s south site collected a further 100 boxes.

The gifts have been collected by Blythswood Care, which is aiming to send its two millionth shoebox in its 50th anniversary year to children in countries like Albania, Kosovo, Ukraine and Pakistan.

Graeme Murray, a teacher of philosophy, theology and ethics at Bede Academy, said: “We collect shoeboxes every year and we were very pleased this time to contribute to Blythswood Care’s landmark total in its special year.

“The appeal is always very well supported by our students and their generous families.

“Some students bring them in individually and others group together in their tutor groups. We try to encourage some friendly competition to see which tutor group and house collects the most, which this year was Oswald house and English teacher Andrew Hutchinson’s Year 11s.”