A GENEROUS group of Tiverton women have raised nearly £3,000 for the Devon Air Ambulance by hosting an ‘Eat, Drink and Talk Rugby’ evening at Heathcoat Cricket Club.

Guest speakers for the evening were former Welsh rugby union international and BBC commentator Eddie Butler, former England rugby union player Paul Ackford and Guardian rugby union correspondent Rob Kitson.

Organisers of the fund-raising evening – Jane Clough, Irene Horsey, Sarah Menzies, and Fiona Kitson – visited the charity's Tiverton shop on Friday to present assistant manager Jody Whyte with a cheque for £2,911.45.

Irene said: “It was a fabulous evening and great fun to organise.

“We were overwhelmed by the support we got from local businesses.

“Ashfords solicitors paid for the tickets to be printed, Andrew Maunder from local butchers Lloyd Maunder donated all the meat, and hotelier Claire Carter of the Hartnoll Hotel gave free accommodation to the guests of honour.”

Jody, speaking on behalf of the Air Ambulance Trust, said: “We’re so grateful for this donation, which will make a real difference to the service.

“As we don't get Government or Lottery funding, we are totally reliant on the people of Devon to raise the funds to keep our helicopters flying.

“We are constantly impressed with the fund-raising ideas that people come up with, and it's great that they have so much fun whilst raising money.”

Devon Air Ambulance Trust needs to raise £4.5 million pounds a year to keep their two helicopters flying.

To date, they have flown over 20,000 missions and fly an average of 550 missions per helicopter per year.