VICTIMS of domestic violence, young people in children’s homes and tots in hospital will benefit from this year’s Daily Echo Christmas Toy Appeal.

The 17th annual initiative will ensure presents are given to those who may otherwise go without this festive season.

Donations are already being collected from the drop-off points so they can be wrapped and distributed ahead of Christmas Day.

Organiser Phil Carey, 92, said: “The good these gifts will do cannot be underestimated.

“They mean so much to people who may not have anything at all.”

Gifts will be distributed through organisations and charities including the Salvation Army, social services, Townsend Children’s Centre and the Butterfly Foundation to ensure that everyone in need will have a present this Christmas.

But more presents are still desperately needed.

“We are particularly lacking in gifts for teenage boys, who can be difficult to buy for,” said Phil.

“However, the response has been fantastic. It is very moving to see how generous the people of Dorset are.”

Gifts can be dropped off at the Daily Echo offices in Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, and at the Dolphin Centre in Poole, where Christmas trees now stand.

They will also be collected at the Lighthouse in Poole, and Boots stores in the Sovereign Centre, Commercial Road in Bournemouth, the Dolphin Centre, Wimborne Road in Winton and Saxon Square in Christchurch.

And for the first time, around 100 presents donated to the Daily Echo offices will be given to children forced to stay in hospital over Christmas through the Amelia-Grace Rainbow Fund.

The charity was set up after eight-year-old Amelia-Grace Cooper died of an aggressive childhood cancer three years ago.

Phil said: “We’ve done so well already.

“But it would be fantastic if it could be the best year yet for the appeal.”