Kingston police have joined town centre managers Kingstonfirst to make sure underprivileged children in the borough are given a Christmas present.

The Christmas Tree appeal encourages visitors to buy presents worth up to £20 by picking up tags hanging on a Christmas tree in the Rose Theatre.

Residents can then deliver the present to Kingston police station to be given to a underprivileged child.

Acting Inspector for Partnership for Kingston police Sergeant Rob Merritt said: “The only involvement some of those kids will have had with police will have been some of the worst periods of their life.

“So it’s nice to give something back. We usually get a really, really good response, last year over 200 presents and this year we’ve already exceeded that target.”

Kingston police have been working with Kingston-based charity Grow Baby, which provides clothes for vulnerable children up to the age of five, for the past two years.

Grow Baby owner Noni Farrelly said: “It’s an awful thought that a child won’t get a present at Christmas. There has been a massive shift in the time we’ve been doing it, people really want to give.”

“They [Kingston police] are amazing. The way they have just taken it in is brilliant and it has really helped us.”

The Christmas tree, donated by Kingstonfirst, sits in the entrance at the Rose Theatre for people to pick up the tags.

Martin Ball, who plays Scrooge in the theatre’s upcoming production A Christmas Carol, believes it is “essential” the venue gets involved with such charitable projects.

He said: “It’s absolutely lovely what they’re doing and a privilege to be involved in. There’s a huge relationship with the community here and that’s very important.”

This is the third year Kingston police have put on the appeal. 

Those who cannot make it to the theatre can visit or email