A CANCER charity says it has destroyed a golliwog doll that was put up for sale at its Skipton shop.

Cancer Support Yorkshire's PreLoved shop on Belmont Bridge came under fire after residents spotted the doll on display in the front window on Wednesday last week. The doll had been removed from the window by Friday, but was understood to still be on sale for £4.50.

In a statement put out on Monday, the charity, which has a centre in Otley Street, said it was appalled that the 'extremely offensive' item had been put on sale and had launched an investigation.

Resident, Anne, 64, said: "I was tempted to buy it just to remove it. It's disgusting, vile and sickening."

Anne, a retired carer, said when a friend who first spotted the doll spoke to staff about it - they said they would not be removing it.

When approached by the SWNS news agency, a staff member said she did not wish to comment but added she didn't feel the doll was racist, and had sold "African" items before.

She said it was a "collectible" item and confirmed it was still on sale within the shop, but was no longer in the window, to avoid upsetting people.

The doll originates from a cartoon character in children's books in the late 19th century and went on to become used commercially and as a children's toy.

Some people commenting on the Craven Herald website have described the toy and the image as 'nostalgic' while others have said they 'don't have any place in modern society'.

One wrote: "It's easy to fondly remember things from our childhood, especially from a time of innocence when we were too young to realise the problematic elements. But it doesn’t mean we should ignore them or be wilfully blind to them."

In a statement, the charity's board of trustees and executive director said: "Cancer Support Yorkshire is an inclusive charity offering comfort, advice and support to the whole community who are affected by cancer.  "Cancer Support Yorkshire are appalled that an extremely offensive item was put on display and for sale at our PreLoved Shop in Skipton.

"We take this extremely seriously and we have launched a thorough investigation. The offensive item has been destroyed and we are sincerely sorry for the distress and upset this has caused across our communities.

"This is not what Cancer Support Yorkshire stands for and goes against our ethos on every level."