Ayrshire curlers have raised £7,500 for Hansel after organising a hugely successful virtual auction and raffle for the local charity.

Unable to run their annual Bonspiel competition due to the pandemic, the group put their heads together to come up with an alternative with prizes including a week’s tractor hire, weekend breaks and a fitness membership.

The most popular item with bidders was a Fourball at Old Prestwick Golf Club which went under the hammer for £650.

Agnes Paton, Hansel Fundraising and Communications Manager, said: “People have been so generous by donating prizes, bidding in the auction, buying raffle tickets and donating the entry fee they would have paid for the Bonspiel despite the event not taking place.

“We certainly missed the camaraderie of the curling this year but are so inspired that even when forced to stay apart the curling community have come together and raised a fantastic amount of money.”

Janice Shepherd, one of the organisers, said she was overwhelmed by the amount of support for the event.

She said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part and the many people who donated prizes – we had 13 auction lots and 64 raffle prizes, we really couldn’t have done it without the help of the local community.”

Pictured is Donald Reid, co-organiser.

Co-organiser Douglas Reid agreed: “It shows that in times of adversity the curling community comes together. While a virtual auction isn’t unheard of a raffle was a whole new experience, with people having to drop off prizes at a social distance and transfer money for tickets electronically.

“We hope to be back on the ice next year but we may run the online auction and raffle concurrently as we were able to reach more people through social media channels.

“Hansel is a charity very close to our hearts and we are so pleased to be able to help support them.”

The money raised will be used to continue to adapt Hansel’s services in Ayrshire to comply with the current Covid restrictions and takes the total raised by the charity Bonspiels over the last 32 years to more than £107,500.

Hansel is a leading social care provider, based in Symington, offering a range of services to people living with learning difficulties including small group living residential accommodation and supported living, short breaks, respite care, employment opportunities and supports, and transition support services, including young people living within the autistic spectrum.