THOUSANDS of pounds were raised during a last minute appeal to help children in need at Christmas.

Warrington Borough Council’s neighbourhoods team’s annual Pyjamas for Christmas Appeal sees funds raised to buy nightwear for youngsters across the town who have been referred to the service, due to their families ‘suffering financial hardship’ during the festive season.

In the run-up to Christmas, enough funds had been raised to cover an anticipated sets of pyjamas.

But an ‘unprecedented’ number of children were referred to the service this year, with 400 pairs of pyjamas needed instead - almost double the demand of previous years.

A last minute appeal saw more than £3,000 raised for the appeal - including more than £1,000 from the Warrington Co-op.

The Friends of St Elphin’s Park has supported the appeal for the past four years.

Secretary Cllr Jean Flaherty said: “A last minute appeal to members and staff at Warrington Borough Council, communities, clubs, parish councils and businesses surpassed all expectations and proved how our communities, working together, can help achieve what might otherwise be considered impossible.

“Almost unbelievably, more than £3,000 was raised in that last emergency appeal.

“This included £1,072 from the Warrington Co-op which, through the good offices of community friend and champion Dave Appleton, was directed into this appeal.

"An added benefit, going forward, is that we will be working with the Co-op on a more formal basis to support families in need in Warrington throughout the year."

Cllr Tony Higgins added: "Christmas can be a very stressful time for many families, so it's really important that we do all we can to help those who are dealing with hardship - especially those facing cuts to their income.

"This year's pyjamas and toy appeals has seen its biggest demand to date."