CHRISTMAS will come early for those in need this year thanks to the Daily Echo’s Christmas Toy Appeal.

Generous readers are already bringing in gifts for struggling families in Dorset – more than a month before the big day.

The gifts will be donated to those who might otherwise have nothing to open during the festive season, including women in refuges in Poole and Bournemouth and, for the first time, children forced to spend their Christmas in hospital.

Poorly youngsters and their siblings will be given the presents through the Amelia-Grace Rainbow Fund, set up in the wake of eight-year-old Amelia-Grace Cooper’s death three years ago from an aggressive form of childhood cancer.

The appeal is now in its 17th year, and is organised annually by great-grandfather Phil Carey.

Although the 92-year-old is too unwell to coordinate this year’s appeal, he urged people to continue bringing presents in.

“Last year was our best year yet, but it would be wonderful if we could do even more,” he said.

“People are so kind and generous. Already we’ve had a fantastic response, and there are lots of presents coming in. They’ll be distributed to those who need it most during Christmas time.”

The appeal has also been backed by former Strictly Come Dancing winner Kara Tointon, pictured, patron of the Rainbow Fund.

Presents can be handed in at the Daily Echo offices in the Dolphin Centre and Richmond Hill.

You can also drop them off at the Lighthouse in Poole, as well as Boots stores in the Sovereign Centre, Commercial Road in Bournemouth, the Dolphin Centre in Poole, Wimborne Road in Winton and Saxon Square in Christchurch.

All presents for the Amelia-Grace Rainbow Fund should be handed in to the Daily Echo offices.