An Edenfield animal sanctuary has launched its festive shoebox appeal so its animals will have a present to enjoy on Christmas Day.

Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary president, Bury TV star Gemma Atkinson, cuddled six-week-old Staffie puppies, which were born at the site, at the charity kicked off the annual appeal.

The 55-acre sanctuary rehomes cats, dogs and small animals while donkeys, horses, goats, pigs, sheep and more live out their lives there.

Hits Radio host Gemma said: “I love the shoebox appeal as it means animals at the sanctuary receive a present on Christmas Day.

“It’s amazing how generous people are and it’s extra special for our animals to receive these treats.

“It was lovely to meet the puppies – I think my partner Gorka Marquez is scared I may take a couple home!”

Bury Times: Gemma Atkinson with a couple of puppies at the sanctuaryGemma Atkinson with a couple of puppies at the sanctuary (Image: Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary)

Bury Times: Gemma backing the appealGemma backing the appeal (Image: Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary)

Stacey Brackenridge has donated to this year's appeal in memory of her dog, her Westie McCoy, who died aged 17 in July.

She put together three boxes full of food, treats and toys.

Stacey said: “I'm doing this in honour of my boy and to support the dogs who don’t have a home this Christmas."

Bury Times: Shoeboxes put together in McCoy's memoryShoeboxes put together in McCoy's memory (Image: Stacey Brackenridge)

Not a stranger to volunteering, Stacey works for the Westie Rescue Scheme and runs a Greater Manchester Westie walks group.

She began donating to the shoe box appeal last year.

Stacey added: “This is such a worthy cause that will help dogs and a great charity at a time where everyone is struggling financially, so spreading some Christmas joy helps me do something positive in McCoy’s memory.”

Bury Times: One of the shoeboxes put together in McCoy's memoryOne of the shoeboxes put together in McCoy's memory (Image: Stacey Brackenridge)

The sanctuary asks for the shoeboxes for dogs to include Whimzees or Harringtons wet and dry food, collars, fleece blankets, sardines, hot dogs and squeaky toys.

For cats, the charity invites Applaws tins, scratching posts or toys, cat nip, feather toys and kitten pouches.

For stables, the cause requests grooming brushes, treat balls, salt/mineral licks and mints, preferably Polo mints, but not extra strong.

And for the farm animals, the list includes small animal water bottles, heat pads, crackers, Weetabix, small pet bowls and pellet/nugget-type rabbit food.

Shoeboxes can be dropped off at the sanctuary or the Bleakholt charity shops in Bury, Ramsbottom and Bacup.