TWO kind hearted Ayr friends are on a mission to provide women less fortunate with a new handbag for Christmas.

Helping Handbags was the brainchild of Tracy Bayne and Sarah Codling who were both inspired after seeing a similar online campaign where old bags were used for good.

Despite both being in full time jobs, they advertise for used, old or unloved bags to be collected at various drop off points, the bags are then filled with essential toiletry items and gifts before being distributed to local causes.

Tracy has told how not all bags come ready to be sent, as she spends hours each night emptying bags getting them fit for their new home.

And the Girl Guides leader says she has been surprised by some of the discoveries with “used underwear and toothbrushes” found on some occasions.

She told the Advertiser: “We do this from the kindness of our heart, we started it four years ago as there is so many homeless people out there. It started by putting out an advert saying ‘I fancy doing this does anyone want to help me?’

“We do it near Christmas, because that’s when things like charity are closer to home.

“We both work full time, we have to find a place to either collect them or get people to drop them off. We haven’t got anywhere to store them.

“I drive a mini, you’d be amazed how many bags you can get in a mini.

“The main help has been Brewsters Fayre at Monkton Lodge, they said we could use them as a central point for one hour, we would come there and pick up the bags. Helped us every year. People turn up between 7.30pm and 8.30pm and drop off the handbags.

“We always bring them back to our houses to check, you would be surprised what people would put in a handbag, we’ve found used toothbrushes, used underwear and bottles of perfume.”

Two years ago Helping Handbags adapted to provide bags that men can also benefit from after they visited Blue Triangle centre in Ayr, so are always on the look out for ones suitable for men such as messenger bags or gym bags.

Tracy added: “We try to make sure each bag has a bar of chocolate, packet of biscuits.The last two years we have had man bags with toiletries for men too.”