Volunteers have taken delivery of more than 400 donated Christmas boxes today (Thursday October 31st) as the annual Blythswood shoebox appeal gets into full swing.

By 6pm tonight a volunteer team had loaded three full pallets and were a good way into the fourth, with boxes arriving in ones, twos and in carloads from around the island.

The collecting point is at the back of the old Co-op furniture store on Kenneth Street in Stornoway, where a team of volunteers were busy between 3 and 6pm this afternoon.

They’re expecting tomorrow (Friday November 1st) to see the pile of boxes climb still higher, as six primary schools and a number of churches, community groups and businesses bring in their collected donations between 3 and 7pm.

Blythswood shoeboxes are filled with warm hats, gloves and scarves, useful household items, toiletries, sweets and toys for children. They’re collected across Scotland, with the island donations due to be shipped off to Blythswood’s depot in Evanton over the weekend.

Lewis and Harris have a tremendous record for generosity each year, with this year’s donations heading off to Romania from the Western Isles. There they will help people living in desperate poverty to survive a harsh winter and to share a bit of winter cheer.

Pictured is seven-year-old Bethany Murray of Stornoway, passing her giftbox to Blythswood volunteer Nana Maclean. Nicola Finlayson of Ness shows off pallet number four as it starts to fill up, and the team pose beside three pallets filled and ready to go – l to r Nan Maclean (Stornoway), Hilda and Willie Bell of Point, front row Erica Buchanan of Branahuie and Nicola Finlayson of Ness.