Shoeboxes packed with Christmas gifts are again winging their way across Europe, thanks to the generosity of Eastbourne Rotarians.

The surprise gift boxes are destined for deprived children in central and eastern Europe – countries such as Moldova and the Ukraine – in a project adopted by the rotary movement as a way of “spreading a little happiness”.

“In some instances, these are children who have never had a gift in their lives, until they receive one of our shoeboxes,” said Rotary Club of Eastbourne president, Brian O’Neil, as he waved off a courtesy car provided by Eastbourne Motoring Centre at the start of the journey.

“One little girl aged eight was so thrilled to receive her first-ever doll, she described it as the most beautiful doll ever and promised to dress her and care for her, with all of her heart.”

The shoeboxes put together by Eastbourne Rotarians are part of a consignment of more than 14,000 distributed across Europe,

Photo caption: Spreading a little happiness – rotary president Brian O’Neil and treasurer Ian Marsden loading shoeboxes into a car loaned by Eastbourne Motoring Centre, outside the club’s lunch meeting venue, the Lansdowne Hotel.