FATHER Christmas made an early stop off at a Stourbridge pub to help give a boost to the borough's Operation Santa appeal.

Instead of receiving presents, however, children were asked to take along old toys and games to be donated to families in need in the Stourbridge-area.

More than 300 items were donated to the annual Operation Santa Christmas appeal, co-ordinated by Dudley Council for Voluntary Service (DCVS), through the donation drive at Katie Fitzgerald's in Wollaston after the owners of the popular music bar heard the Stourbridge branch of the Black Country Foodbank had received an increase in referrals in the run-up to the festive season.

Trina Keane, co-owner of the venue in Enville Street, said: "I cannot even begin to thank everyone enough for all the wonderful presents they have donated today to our Santa appeal.

"In my wildest dreams I wasn't expecting such a fantastic response from all the beautiful people of Stourbridge. We will really be putting lots of smiles on the faces of children on Christmas morning."

Lye Labour councillor Pete Lowe, who filled in for Santa Claus at the event on December 9, greeted generous donors and listened to youngsters as they read out their Christmas wish list and letters to Santa.

Stourbridge News:

Cllr Lowe, former Dudley Council leader and Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Stourbridge, said: “Christmas is a wonderful time for family, friendship and sharing.

"However, the festive period can be a real struggle for low-income families. Volunteers at Stourbridge Foodbank have seen this first-hand and have reported an increase in referrals this month.

"I was delighted to be able to support the appeal and I am filled with pride at the generosity of local people who donated toys and gifts to Stourbridge children who may not otherwise have had presents to open on Christmas morning."

The gifts have since been handed over to Black Country Foodbank's Stourbridge facility and distributed to people who use the service.

To find out how to donate to Operation Santa and or the Foodbank go to https://operationsanta.files.wordpress.com/2018/10/2018-wishlists-both.pdf.