The people of Wharfedale and Aireborough have been thanked for lending “amazing” support to a festive appeal for children in hospital.

More than 800 presents were donated to the 2013 Leeds Children’s Hospital Christmas Gift Appeal, organised by Otley mum Mel Metcalfe.

The gifts were distributed to children of all ages across the area who have had to spend Christmas in hospital or in a hospice and Mel said she had been overwhelmed by everyone’s help.

She said: “The response to the gift appeal was absolutely amazing.

“We had more than 800 gifts donated in the end and because of everyone’s kindness and generosity managed to visit children’s hospices and hospitals in Leeds, Boston Spa, Wetherby, Otley and Huddersfield, including Martin House and Forget-Me-Not children’s hospices, Leeds General Infirmary, St James’s University Hospital, A&E and the Minor Injuries unit at Wharfedale Hospital.

She said: “There are so many people to thank, so many individuals, knitters, companies, schools, businesses and groups, and thanks also to all our friends who travelled and delivered and collected for us.

“It brought many a smile to little brave children’s faces, making it yet again such a successful appeal.”

Mel started the appeal in 2012 and decided, following its runaway success, to keep it going while broadening its coverage area.

Local shops and other businesses acted as drop-off points for the donated gifts.