Dozens of willing volunteers lent a hand in Devizes on Saturday to pack showboxes full of goodies for underprivileged children in eastern Europe.

Around 50 people answered the call from Operation Christmas Child and went to St Andrew’s Church Hall in Devizes to help pack the boxes with a wide range of toys and gifts for boys and girls who would otherwise get no presents this Christmas.

The hall was a hive of industry as helpers set up a production line to pack 638 boxes ready for dispatch from the charity’s Melksham hub.

Organiser Ursula McKinnon said: “It would have been a lot more but we ran out of things to pack. It was a fantastic day and there was a wonderful atmosphere.

“We must have had over 50 helpers. I tried to count them but they were moving around too much. I would like to thank everyone who helped and who donated items and made cash contributions towards transport costs.”

In addition to the boxes packed on Saturday, another 20 or so were dropped in by individuals. A further 32 were picked up from the Gazette offices in the Market Place and Mrs McKinnon has had 18 delivered to her home.

Full details of how to pack a shoebox and what to put in it are available in leaflets from the Gazette & Herald offices in Devizes Market Place. Filled shoeboxes can be left at the Gazette’s offices in Devizes and Chippenham and at Henry George estate agents in Marlborough.

The deadline for receiving filled shoeboxes is Monday, November 19, but any received after that date will not be turned away.