THE King Cole Foundation is running a huge Christmas toy appeal - and has seen more than 1,000 toys donated in the run-up to the big day.

The charity was set up in memory of Bury teenager Cole Kershaw, in the weeks following his death in August.

Eighteen-year-old Cole was shot during an incident in Chesham Road and died in hospital a short time later.

The foundation’s latest venture is seeing them attempt to deliver a present to every child in the borough whose family would otherwise struggle to afford one.

Donations have seen them collect up to 400, already wrapped and ready to go, with many more on the way.

Trustee Jodie Smith said: “In light of the circumstances surrounding Cole’s death, we wanted to highlight the dangers of knives and guns on our streets. We really wanted to create a community cohesion and have been pushing forward with that.

“We have been working with Bury Homeless Project on our toy appeal and have been asking for donations so that we can distribute them where they are really needed.

“Schools have approached us to say what kids won’t get presents this Christmas. Then they send us who they are, for example, a 15-year-old boy or six-year-old girl, and we send the presents to them.”

The foundation recently did a sweets giveaway at Halloween, dishing out upwards of 800 bags to children not allowed to go trick-or-treating this year due to restrictions.

Foundation chair Hilary Singleton said: “We just know that there are kids out there on the streets that could do with a community centre to bring them together. We are just trying to create that safe environment.”

In addition to the toy collection, the foundation will be undertaking its own version of the Rotary Club’s sleigh collection. Hilary said any money raised would be going towards “suitable premises” for a centre, aimed at catering for people between four and 94.

The foundation is hoping to provide support for young people in the borough through sport, employment and education.

Cole was an amateur boxer, and the foundation is encouraging youngsters to take up the sport among other things in an effort towards ending gang culture. To donate toys to their fund, visit the King Cole Foundation social media pages.