Christmas was ‘saved’ for several families after their children were reunited with their favourite furry friends who had been lost during the festive period.
After the Boxing Day sales began, customer service staff and colleagues at Rushden Lakes noticed their lost and found collection was becoming more like a zoo, gathering a whole host of toys in just two days.
In an effort to reunite the much-loved toys with their owners, the centre made an appeal on social media.
Paul Rich, centre manager at Rushden Lakes, said: “As parents, we all know how attached young ones get to their toys.
“We gathered a selection into a picture and posted it onto our social media pages, hoping that a few people might see it.
“Within minutes, we were taking calls from people who were so grateful that we’d found their toys.”
The Twitter post was seen by more than 3,000 people, while the Facebook appeal was shared almost 500 times and reached more than 67,000 people.
Paul said: “In a matter of hours we’d had the first toy claimed, and three of the toys that had been dropped or left while shopping here at Rushden Lakes have already been reunited with their young owners.
“One local dad who came to collect his two-year-old son’s bedtime comfort toy was absolutely over the moon, and another parent said that we had literally ‘saved’ their Christmas.”
The online appeal was welcomed by customers, with thousands of likes, loves and retweets.
Jane Stanton commented online: “How very thoughtful, well done The Lakes.”
And Tasha Jack said: “Such a lovely idea - all shopping centres should do this.”
While the appeal has already had some success, Paul said there were still a number of toys waiting to be claimed.
He said: “We’re delighted to have been able to reunite these toys with their owners, but there’s obviously still some children out there who are missing their favourite fluffy friend or treasured toy.
“If anyone recognises any of the toys as theirs, they should give our customer service team a call on 01933 437925.”