The president of Whitchurch's Rotary Club has lauded the community spirit of residents from the town and surrounding areas after its 'Santa Sleigh' raised a record amount.

The club's sleigh, which visits children of all ages – even those over the age of 18 – around Whitchurch and Malpas, plus smaller villages such as Tilston, Ightfield and Calverhall for 17 days before Christmas.

Maggie Allen, rotary president for this year, admitted the club was delighted with its haul of £8,353, a record in the sleigh's 44th year of operation, and she thanked all those who came to help and support.

"We raised more than we did last year, so we're really pleased about that," she said.

"The money that we've raised keeps showing the generosity of the community that is out there.

"The giving spirit of Whitchurch is very much alive and well. They come together and just do it.

"Our sleigh has been going for more than 40 years, and people who were young then are bringing their children and grandchildren.

"We know that people save all year around for this, so they can give us bags of 1ps, 2ps and lots of small change and that is great.

"It's not just about the kids coming to see the sleigh, but it's about the chance to raise lots of money for charities in our community.

"All of the money raised is goes to groups in Whitchurch and in surrounding areas. It's not just raised in Whitchurch, but in Malpas, Ightfield, Calverhall and as far up as Tilston.

"Their giving spirit is equally as generous as Whitchurch's.

"We thank all of the people who came out to see us, to give money and the ones who had mice pies and mulled win waiting for us too.

"Their community spirit is superb."

The collection this year means the club has raise more than total £172,000 during it's span.

Ian Fawcett (Rota) and Chris Smith (Treasurer) bore the logistical burden, with Angela Smith counting the money.

Meanwhile, on Christmas Day, Whitchurch Rotarians delivered 120 Christmas lunches to residents in their homes.

The meals were cooked by Maggie and her team, in the Sir John Talbot School’s kitchens, supported by colleagues and friends, with Ian.