Kind-hearted people are being urged to spread some Christmas cheer by donating gifts to hundreds of troops fighting Afghanistan’s ruthless Taliban insurgents.

Lieutenant Chris Moore, a 28-year-old Royal Naval Reservist from Olton, Solihull, has appealed for small items such as chocolate, sweets, toiletries, magazines, socks and other basics to be donated in shoebox-size parcels.

Chris is employed by Birmingham-based Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) but is currently serving at a NATO base in Kandahar along with thousands of troops from around the world after volunteering to help the British forces.

A similar appeal staged by the company last year provoked a fantastic response from the public with more than 320 parcels of presents donated. The company, which delivers Government-funded Welfare to Work initiatives helping long-term unemployed people get back into employment, hopes people will be even more generous this year.

The appeal is being co-ordinated by Chris’s workmates, including Lou Careless and Georgina Murphy, at the company’s Yardley base.

On Christmas Day Chris plans to play Santa by handing out the gifts to spread good cheer among the hundreds of fellow British troops.

He said: “I certainly didn’t expect last year’s appeal to generate such a wonderful response but the parcels were very much appreciated and raised the spirits on Christmas Day.

“It was so successful we decided we would like to give everyone an opportunity to show their appreciation once again for the work being done by the troops in Afghanistan.”

Anyone interested in donating shoebox-size parcels should first contact the reception desk at PPDG’s head office by calling 0121 450 8300 for details. They will be supplied with a list of suitable items and the contact details of their local PPDG office.

Packages must not be sealed, nor contain spray cans and should be delivered to PPDG no later than November 28. Financial donations will also be accepted up to November 21.