AN ANNUAL children’s charity campaign is set to launch in Wyre Forest with a sport theme ahead of the Olympics.

Operation Christmas Child collects shoeboxes filled with gifts for children who face poor conditions in several overseas countries.

This year the shoeboxes will be sent to Belarus and Romania.

The charity’s area coordinator, Shirley Butcher, said: “With 2012 being an Olympic year we are asking supporters, old and new, to think about including some sporting items in their shoeboxes.

“As well as putting in welcome Christmas gifts and educational items, we hope people may include something like a tennis ball, skipping rope or small football.”

It is the 21st year of Operation Christmas Child, one of the UK’s largest annual children’s charity projects. It is an initiative of Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian relief and development organisation.

To participate in this year’s shoebox campaign visit or call the helpline on 0870 011 2002.

The Shuttle office in Blackwell Street will be one of the drop-off points for the boxes. The deadline for people’s donations will be 1pm on Friday, November 18.