RATHER than throwing away unwanted Christmas presents people are being urged to instead donate them to a good cause.

The British Heart Foundation is appealing to those left disappointed by Santa’s offerings to give the gifts to the charity.

Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “We love the gifts you don’t!

"This year, our shops are open from December 27, when we will welcome everything from good quality clothes, shoes, handbags and jewellery to DVDs, CDs, books and children’s toys.

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"Electrical items can also be donated to one of our 180 furniture and electrical stores, so think of us when re-gifting that blender or coffee machine."

She added: "Your quality items will be saved from landfill and help us raise funds for vital research into heart and circulatory diseases.”

As the UK’s largest charity retailer, each year its 740 shops help raise £30 million for life-saving research into heart disease.

Last year alone, the British Heart Foundation saved more than 74,000 tonnes of items from landfill, which helped prevent 53,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere. This included 15,000 tonnes of clothes and 180,000 sofas.

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Each year, more than 16,000 people in the South East lose their life to heart and circulatory diseases and currently 960,000 people are living with these conditions across the region.

To donate simply bring items to your local shop or go online to arrange a home collection free of charge and say goodbye to Christmas clutter.

To find out more about how to donate or to arrange a free collection visit bhf.org.uk/donate.