JUST over a month since a local barber wrapped up a Christmas toy bank initiative, he has now made it his mission to give ill children across the borough a treat this Easter.

Tony Batty and friend Liam Hardcastle collected more than 4,000 gifts for underprivileged children across the borough in the run-up to the festive period.

Following the success of the scheme, which saw supermarkets and independent shops become drop-off points for the gifts, Tony and Liam aim to collect Easter eggs for children in hospital.

The Easter egg appeal was created last Monday – and has already received a boost from a local bridal shop.

“After the success of the toy bank, Liam and I knew we wanted to help children at Easter,” said Tony. “We had a chat and came up with the idea of collecting an egg for each child at Barnsley Hospital, Sheffield Hospital and Bluebell Wood to help bring a smile to their faces.

“We couldn’t believe how many people wanted to help at Christmas and we had people phoning us up, asking if we would be doing anything for Easter and whether they could be drop-off points again – it’s great.”

One business owner helped to kickstart the scheme with a donation of 60 Easter eggs.

Julie Carr, owner of Elegance Bridal Studio on Eastgate, said she wanted to help the community to come together during the pandemic.

“I started my shop in 2005 and I have relied on the Barnsley public to help keep my business going, and this is my way of saying thank you,” she said. “I wanted to help put a smile on the children’s faces because I can’t imagine how they are feeling.

“Being ill and in hospital is bad enough, but through a pandemic must be awful.

“When I heard about the scheme I contacted Tony and asked how many eggs he was hoping to collect, and he mentioned 200. I thought a donation of 60 would be a great place to start and encourage other people to donate.”

The eggs will be donated to the hospitals and hospice on March 24, and Tony revealed he may dress up for the occasion – as the Easter Bunny.