KIND-HEARTED best friends celebrated a birthday milestone by swapping birthday presents for doggy donations.

Holly Rippingale and Emily Vincent celebrated a joint tenth birthday this month.

However, the pair, from Halstead, decided against receiving presents, instead requesting donations for animal charities.

Holly chose the Danaher Animal Home in Wethersfield, with Emily choosing local charity Family Felines Cat Protection.

Holly’s mum Jay Swift said: “It was completely their idea - myself and Emily’s mum Jen were completely taken aback by it.

“Holly’s birthday is on New Year’s Eve and Emily’s on January 9, so they always had a joint birthday since being together at primary school.

“For their birthday celebrations, they both said to us they don’t want presents but they want to ask for donations.

“Holly wanted to do something for the RSPCA as we rescued our old dog Wilson from there, and even though it was a long time ago now it is a core memory.

“Emily has not long rescued a kitten, so her choice was an easy one as well.

At their birthday party in Holy Trinity School Hall, they both received donated items from their friends.

Jay said: “We got so much - more than any of us expected.

“We had dog food, dog treats, lots of dog toys, which the RSPCA said were particularly brilliant as they needed them.

“They also raised £200, so that's £100 each to their charities.

“The Family Felines charity people came to Emily’s house, and then we all went to the Danaher Animal Home to deliver our donations.

“They were really thankful. They gave Holly a certificate, and gave them a tour to show what the money and treats would go towards.

“We were both so proud.

“Even the children at school and their parents were taken aback.

“Some have said it has made them think like that too and their children want to do the same.

“It was just so lovely.”