A record-breaking donation of over £14,000 has been made to Radio Borders Cash for Kids charity.
The money is the result of fundraising efforts made by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) in partnership with ScotRail, Morrison Construction and local chocolatiers, Cocoa Black from Peebles.
A total of £14,177.15 was raised during a number of high profile events held to celebrate the return of the Borders Railway and to support the charity’s annual Mission Christmas appeal.
These events ranged from a special train journey on September 5 where 480 Borders residents, including 72 school pupils, became the first official passengers to travel on the new line through to a specially commissioned replica of the Flying Scotsman and a ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’-themed Golden Ticket draw held in all local schools.
Collections were also held at Waverley Station, a Service of Celebration at Our Lady and St Andrew Church in Galashiels, an opening event at Stow Station, a gala railway party in Tweedbank and a weekend of Christmas activities at the Transport Interchange in Galashiels.
Golden Ticket Saturday saw almost 400 worthy individuals chosen for a special trip on September 5, a day before the railway opened to the public. All winners were encouraged to donated to Cash for Kids during the day.
Cocoa Black in Peebles was commissioned to produce over 15,000 Borders Railway commemorative chocolate bars which were handed out to pupils at special assemblies.
Cocoa Black was further commissioned to create a replica of the Flying Scotsman steam locomotive made entirely from chocolate.
The scale model took 300 hours to create and was funded with sponsorship from Morrison Construction. It was on prominent display during the opening celebrations and can currently be seen at the Galashiels Transport Interchange where it will remain until the New Year.
It is the intention of the Council and Morrison Construction to donate the train to Radio Borders Cash for Kids who plan to use it to raise further funds for the charity throughout 2016.
Two days of special events were also held at the Transport Interchange in Galashiels as part of Radio Borders Mission Christmas appeal for 2015.
A cheque on behalf of SBC, Morrison Construction and ScotRail was presented to Lynsey Graham, Radio Borders Station Director and Candy Rafferty, Cash for Kids Charity Manager at a meeting of SBC on Thursday (December 17).
Candy Rafferty said: “This is the largest ever single donation made to Radio Borders Cash for Kids since it was founded and its significance cannot be underestimated.
“Suddenly, this year we saw a three-fold rise in applications made to us from an average of £9,000 to over £28,000 a quarter. No-one understands more about the problems of low employment and low wages in rural areas than the Council.
“We appreciate the massive efforts of everyone involved with this initiative and on behalf of the many hundreds of our local children this huge sum will benefit, the team at Radio Borders say a big thank you.”
Councillor David Parker, SBC Leader, said: “It has been fantastic to raise money for Radio Borders Cash for Kids at the same time as celebrating the arrival of the new Borders Railway.
“I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the fundraising activities that have raised such a magnificent donation for this wonderful charity.”