CHRISTMAS is a time for giving, but one philanthropic Tottington schoolgirl has given more than most this festive season.

While most children her age were still unwrapping their presents on Christmas morning, six-year-old Ellie Haywood decided to visit Royal Manchester Children's Hospital to give hers to patients and staff.

Dressed as Santa Claus, she handed out gifts, including Lego sets, dolls, paint sets, puzzles and colouring books, to youngsters.

And if that was not selfless enough, Ellie then gave all £100 of her Christmas money towards funding a new scanning suite to revolutionise brain surgery at the hospital.

The Holly Mount RC Primary School, who lives in Kirklees Street, has made a habit of visiting the hospital to hand out Christmas presents, having done so for the last few years.

Ellie's mum, Claire O'Rourke, who is an associate director at Greater Manchester Cancer, said: "We have been doing it every Christmas since Ellie was three.

"It is a really horrible time for cancer patients, particularly children. Some of them have been in for a year and it is nice to just give them something.

"I work in the NHS myself, and it is not great working on Christmas Day so people donating presents for the doctors, nurses and cleaners also means a lot."

But, Ellie's fundraising efforts do not end there.

Along with a number of her schoolfriends, Ellie has helped to raised thousands of pounds for Francis House Children's Hospice in Manchester over the last few years.

And, according to her mum, she also plans to pass on her birthday presents to those less fortunate when she turns seven later this month.

"We think it is important to teach Ellie about giving back," explained Ms O'Rourke. "Luckily, her friends and school have been really supportive.

"We get loads of presents and I am trying to encourage more parents to give back.

"Ellie is always delighted when we go to the hospital, they make a real fuss of her. She does so much, she is always thinking of what she can do to help others."