Two keen modelling enthusiasts have used their hobby to help Weston Hospicecare – and have donated more than £5,000 to the charity.

Darren Berry and Steve Gibbons work for Western Power Distribution, and discovered a shared love of modelling when they first met at a company training event.

The duo compared notes, and quickly came up with an idea which they hoped would raise money for a number of charities. Weston Hospicecare was nominated as one of them, as a former colleague – Phil Thorne, now part of the hospice’s Burnham Friends group – had been a long-term supporter of the hospice.

Darren and Steve approached company bosses to ask for support to create some scale models of the firm’s vehicle fleet, and were thrilled when the firm agreed to fund the purchase of the vehicles.

Darren and Steve’s modelling prowess then took over, as they turned the models into perfect replicas of actual Western Power Distribution vehicles – even the tiniest details on the Ford Transit and Land Rover Defender vehicles perfectly mirror actual vehicles out on the roads.

Two thousand of each type of model was commissioned, and these limited editions have been snapped up far and wide – by the company’s staff and customers, as well as by collectors.

Donations of £5 a time have helped the scheme raise an amazing £18,000 – and £5,500 has now been donated to Weston Hospicecare.

To put the amount into perspective, that is the equivalent of two modern new adjustable beds for the hospice’s inpatient unit – equipment which is currently subject to the charity’s Comfort & Care Appeal.

Steve and Darren visited the hospice last week to see how their money would be spent.

Darren said: “Steve and I both do modelling as a hobby; it was something we found as a common interest when we first met.

“We came up with the idea and went to the manufacturer and initially thought we would order 20, only to be told that the minimum order was 2,000.

“Thankfully, the company decided to fund the purchase, and we then got to work.

“We’ve had phone calls and orders from all over the company, and from collectors too, including one from Jersey.

“It’s terrific to visit Weston Hospicecare and see how much difference can make, and I’m sure everyone who supported this project will be thrilled to know their money is supporting such a valuable cause.”

The hospice’s corporate fundraising manager Simon Angear said: “We’re enormously grateful to Darren and Steve for putting their talents to work in support of the hospice, and to Western Power Distribution for helping them to do so.

“Their donation is very generous, and can make a real difference to the care we are able to deliver to our patients.”

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