LITTLE dolls are being hidden around Darwen as an NHS worker is hoping to bring some comfort to the community.

The woman, who calls herself Mrs Worry Doll, has been hand painting wooden dolls and hiding them around parts of the town.

She was inspired about six weeks ago after coming across a woman who was crying in the woods after her husband had died.

She began making the dolls to help people as well as creating a fun game for children to go out looking for them.

The dolls are hidden across Bold Venture Park, Sunnyhurst Woods, and the Hoddlesden Millennium Green in small bags and so far she believes about 70 people have found a worry doll.

They are all hand-painted and put into a bag which is hung for someone to find and includes a note saying the doll will help take their "worries away".

The woman, who wants to remain anonymous so the dolls retain an air of mystique, said: "We've seen about 10 children looking for the dolls. We could hear them saying 'have you seen any worry dolls, is there any on that top lane'?

"There's kids coming out of nursery and going straight to the Hoddlesden Millennium Green. It's just nice."

The dolls have become so popular that people were asking her if she could post them to their children in the run up to returning to school after lockdown.

At the same time, people were asking if they could pay for the dolls, but instead of taking money, she has asked people to donate to Darwen's Mayoh brothers, Jack and Tom, as part of their fundraiser for East Lancashire Hospice.

The boys' father, Gareth Mayoh, said that the idea of the worry dolls reminded him of the after care services that the hospice provided after his wife Louise died in 2018.

The boys have been out hiding the dolls themselves.

Gareth said: "All three of us were hiding them in the funniest of places.

"Jack wanted to hide one in a tree and climb a tree and I said 'no you can't climb a tree because someone will have to climb a tree to get it'.

"We were hiding them all over and then we got to the end of the path at Sunnyhurst Woods and I said we would carry on but the boys said 'no let's turn back and see if any have gone'.

"My grandad, who passed away in 2009, had a bench there and I had hung one just on the side.

"We were walking back and an old lady was there and she had seen it and was just opening it up.

"To walk past and see her finding that and have her know that somebody is out there doing good is exciting."