Shoppers opened their hearts for a big Easter egg collection to help Havering’s elderly community celebrate the festive season.

More than 200 chocolate eggs were donated for elderly people in nursing and care homes after an appeal by Romford’s Mercury shopping centre.

Customers bought an extra chocolate treat to donate to the annual event and also dipped in their pockets for cash for hospital charities in Romford and Ilford.

The Easter gifts had been dropped into the giant Egg Pod next to the help desk at the centre in Mercury Gardens over the past few weeks.

“We are always amazed just how generous people can be during these testing times,” shopping centre manager Spencer Hawken said. “The appeal has been running since 2005 and the number of eggs donated continues to rise year on year — thanks to the generous shoppers.

“Egg giving is synonymous with the spirit of Easter and chocolate eggs are enjoyed by all ages – not just children but the young-at-heart too.”

His staff delivered eggs to Ravenscourt Nursing Home, Emerson Court residential home, Beech Court care home and Portland Close. Supermarkets like Asda also joined the appeal.

Ravenscourt gave a special “thank you” to the shopping public for the eggs which they said were “really appreciated” by its residents.

A festive event last weekend included an egg hunt, face painting and a photo with the Easter bunny at the centre, raising more than £850 for King George and Queen’s Hospitals’ Charity.

The Mercury opened in 1990 as one of the three main Romford shopping centres and has been used as a filming location many times.

It has been the home of the Romford Film Festival since 2017, showing movies over six days at the centre’s Premiere Cinema during May or June.