A SAINTS star has backed a Southampton festive toy appeal to help make sure that all children have a gift to open.

James Ward-Prowse has backed Southampton City Council’s annual Festive Toy Appeal this year.

The Southampton FC midfielder was at St Mary’s Stadium to support a collection of toys that has been organised by Saints Foundation, the club’s official charity.

James has encouraged members of the public to support the appeal, which already has the backing of a host of businesses and community organisations from across the city, as well as members of the public who have already donated toys in droves.

James said: “This is a fantastic appeal that I hope will really benefit children across the city who might be facing difficult circumstances this Christmas.

"Even the smallest gift can make a difference and help put a smile on a child’s face, so I’m glad that the appeal has gained so much momentum.”

All toys collected during the appeal will be distributed to young people who are supported by Southampton City Council’s children’s services.

The aim of the appeal is to ensure that these young people have a special gift to open – whatever their circumstances.

New toys for children up to the age of 18 can be donated by members of the public at Westquay’s customer services desk and at Southampton City Council’s Civic Centre reception until Friday, December 20.

Last year local people donated more than 7,000 toys and the organisers of this year’s appeal are hoping that this year’s total matches or even exceeds this number, making it a Christmas to remember for children in need in the city.

Andy Collyer, General Manager of Westquay said: “Christmas presents the perfect opportunity to make sure the less fortunate children of Southampton don't miss out on the happiest time of year, and we’re delighted to be a part of this fantastic appeal.

"We encourage our guests to donate generously so we can help to bring happiness to thousands of families this festive season.”

A large number of businesses, charities and other organisations across the city are coming together as part of the appeal to help make it a Christmas to remember for the city’s children, including Westquay, Saints Foundation and many more.