A WOMAN who was inspired to collect toys for youngsters spending Christmas in a refuge this year has amassed dozens of gifts to spread some extra festive joy.
Olivia Dunn, 33, from Newton-le-Willows, between Leyburn and Bedale, said she decided to do something after supporting a close friend having to access a North Yorkshire women's refuge.
She said: "This December I have been collecting for a local women's refuge. I asked what they most wanted or needed and the response was that the women most wanted small gifts or treats to be able to wrap up for their children to open at Christmas.
"Lots of individuals have donated. One woman turned up to my house in the rain with three bags of gifts.
"People’s generosity has been amazing and heartwarming at a time when so many people are struggling.
"I received an absolute mountain of gifts – the community has done a great job providing toys, gifts, treats, games, wrapping paper and lots of other bits.
"I’m sure the women and children in the refuge will have some real Christmas joy."
"I will be delivering the gifts to the refuge on Monday for the mums to wrap for Christmas morning. I will certainly be thinking of them all opening their presents and hope it can bring some happiness to their day.
"This has helped make my Christmas a happier time too."
The refuge told Ms Dunn it was delighted she was able to help with some Christmas treats, chocolates, selection boxes, toys or gifts.
Ms Dunn, who works in Leyburn, added: "Spending Christmas in a safe haven with presents to unwrap can help bring some joy on a day that has the potential to be very bleak and hard for women and children.
"For many women and children fleeing domestic violence, the idea of not being home for Christmas can be upsetting and many have had to leave with very few belongings.
"These are families in our community that are in really complex and difficult situations and that we can help in some small way to bring some joy on Christmas Day.
"I am determined that the children will all have something to open this Christmas and would like to thank local community and businesses who have donated anything, however small."