A sprinkle of sunshine has shone on the Telegraph & Argus Children’s Secret Santa Appeal – thanks to the Lord Mayor of Bradford.

Councillor Dale Smith has pledged to give £1,000 from his own Sprinkle Sunshine appeal to help buy Christmas presents for the district’s poorest children.

The generous donation has got the appeal off to a dazzling start already guaranteeing that this Christmas will be a lot merrier than it might have been for at least some of the 37,000 youngsters who are living in poverty in the Bradford district.

The T&A is running its festive appeal in association with Bradford-based aid charity the Human Relief Foundation. which will use money donated by readers, groups, organisations and businesses to buy gifts, wrap them and deliver them to young people in need on Christmas Eve.

The Lord Mayor said: “I’ll be pleased to back the T&A’s Children’s Secret Santa Appeal and wholeheartedly support it with a donation of £1,000 from my civic appeal.”

He added: “I’m still fundraising as hard as I can with wonderful help from all over the district and am still looking for other opportunities needing a sprinkle of sunshine.”

Sarah Gate, of the Human Relief Foundation, said: “What a fantastic gesture.

“We are absolutely thrilled. It really gets the appeal off to a flying start.

“We’d like to say a massive thank you.

“This appeal is going to make such a big difference to so many children who wouldn’t otherwise be waking up to presents on Christmas Day.”

A child is considered to be living in poverty if their household income is less than 60 per cent of average wages.

Among the children set to benefit include those involved with Barnardo’s Young carers Service and the Gateway Children’s Centre in Ravenscliffe which is linked to The Children’s Society.

Barnardo’s says many families in Bradford are living on only £12 per person per day after housing costs which has to stretch to cover food, electricity, water, gas and bus fares.

And it had described the levels of child poverty as a scandal which has a long-term impact on children.

Anne Marie Carrie, its chief executive, said: “The effects of growing up in poverty can not only destroy long-term health but crush childhood aspiration, result in low educational outcomes and remove any opportunity a child may have had to successfully enter the world of work.”

Businesses, organisations, including schools and colleges, and individuals have been urged to support the T&A Children’s Secret Santa Appeal to enable as much money as possible to be raised by Friday, December 21, to spread some festive cheer.

e-mail: kathie.griffiths@telegraphandargus.co.uk

To donate a gift, go to www.secretsantabradford.com