A CHARITY has launched its Christmas appeal to help cash-strapped families over the festive period.

The Salvation Army has teamed up with Superdrug in Wheelgate, Malton, in its plea for donations of gifts, toileteries and food.

The number of families expected to need help is expected to be at least 100, said Major Alwyn Hockley, who runs the Malton and Norton Citadel with her husband, Keith, who also holds the rank of major.

Many of the families are referred to the Army by organisations such as social services and schools.

“We are especially looking for gifts of toys, toileteries and food,” said Major Hockley.

Meanwhile, the Salvation Army Band is busy rehearsing its traditional carols in readiness for visiting old people’s homes and playing in the street where it raises money to buy presents for needy families.

“We are always very grateful for the support we get from the public and businesses,” said Major Hockley.

One of the highlights of the band’s Christmas programme will be a community carol service being held at the Army’s Citadel in Norton on Sunday at 3pm, which will be attended by the town mayor, Coun Di Keal.

In addition to the band, the choir of Norton Primary School will be taking part in the event which is in aid of the Next Steps charity.

Tickets, priced at £3, can be bought from Major Hockley on 01653 693344.