Epsom charity MERU is modifying this Christmas’s must-have toys so they can be used more easily by children with disabilities.

The charity’s Christmas “elves” – engineers and technicians who have volunteered their time to adapt electronic toys to have larger buttons – are working around the clock

Hayley Philippault, one of the engineers, said: "We started adapting toys two years ago, when parents asked us to work on their child's favourite toys to make them easier to play with. Seeing an area where we might be able to make a real difference, we opened this up as a service and it proved hugely popular.

“This year we decided to start buying toys that were tipped to be big at Christmas from a friendly wholesaler and adapted them for use with an accessible switch. They are then put back in their original packaging and sold as new through our online shop. This Christmas we have been inundated and have sold five times as many adapted toys as last year so far."

Many early-years toys involve squeezing, pushing small buttons or using small switches to play with, and make them light up, talk or sing, which make them extremely difficult to use for children without the required motor skills, or other impairments.

One boy who benefitted from MERU’s service is Harvey Bessant, pictured.

His mum Nicola said: “I just can’t thank MERU enough. This brilliant charity can make another child like my Harvey smile this Christmas.”

The toys are available to buy at meru.org.uk/shop, and will be available all year, so children can also benefit from them at birthdays and other special occasions.