BIG-HEARTED residents are donating gifts to needy children.

The Travel Lounge in Middlewich has once again launched their Christmas toy appeal and has been overwhelmed with support from the community.

The three partners who own the independent travel agent on Wheelock Street, Andrea Jones, Lynsey Bills and Joanne Lightfoot, want to thank everyone for their generosity.

Joanne Lightfoot said: "People are coming in every day with gifts. We have received books, games, toys, puzzles, cuddly toys, and dressing up outfits. Everything is brand new, it's brilliant.

"People are popping in after they've dropped their kids off at school or as they are doing their shopping."

And it's not just regulars and people in Middlewich who have responded.

"We are getting donations from Winsford, Holmes Chapel and Sandbach," said Joanne. "It never ceases to amaze us how much support we get. We want to say a big thank you to everyone."

The trio opened their business six years ago when Co-op Travel closed across the road. They had been working together for 10 years and wanted to continue to offer customers 'a good, friendly and professional service which often gets lost in bigger companies'.

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The Travel Lounge lost their ABTA licence in September as they were operating under the Freedom Travel Group consortium which was part of the Thomas Cook Group and could no longer trade.

Following the collapse of Thomas Cook, staff lost their jobs but have now been re-employed following a rescue bid from Hays Travel.

Thanks to the Midcounties Consortium, they were back up and trading within a few days.

The team was inundated with gifts from customers.

"We're now back to normal and really busy," said Joanne. "Our regular customers have stayed with us. We treat them like friends as we know each other so well. It's great to have our jobs back."

The trio have been running their toy appeal for 15 years.

All the gifts will be donated to Home-start Cheshire, a charity that supports local families who are going through challenging times.

The closing date for the collection is Sunday, December 15. The toys will then be sorted into age groups and distributed to children in need.

Just wondered if you are able to mention the we have started our Santas suitcase toy appeal for Christmas and are accepting donations in the shop for toys and sweets. All the Proceeds will go to Homestart Cheshire.

I have just spoken to the lady who takes the toys to homestart and she is collecting them on 16 December.