Lacock lock-in raises cash for charity

Some of Wiltshire?s leading business and community figures found themselves on the naughty list on Tuesday, when they were imprisoned in Santa?s grotto for charity.

Six unwitting captives, including the High Sheriff of Wiltshire William Wylbore-Smith and Rev David Alderman of the Chippenham Methodist Circuit were seized by elves at Lacock?s Whitehall Garden Centre, and forced to raise ?250 bail from their contacts to secure their freedom.

Alan MacRae, Wiltshire Council portfolio holder for safeguarding, and councillor for Corsham Pickwick was also among the prisoners.

He said: ?I really enjoyed it actually. There was a seven-year-old boy Aidan who captured me in the car park and took me to the grotto, where we all had to stay.

?Every time we passed a big fundraising hurdle they would come round with treats, but it was an odd experience; I haven?t ever had to call somebody up before to say I have been captured by Santa and need money to be released. ?A lot of people were asking how much it would cost to keep me in there.

?The money is going to support Wiltshire Families First, which is a wonderful charity. It supports families over a six-month period, which is just that bit of help they need so they don?t have to go into care.?

He was joined in the grotto by fellow councillors Laura Mayes and Richard Gamble, and Kim Patton of the SPLITZ charity.

Shelagh Hillier, fundraiser at Action for Children, said: ?I?d like to say a massive thank you to all of the festive fundraisers who took part. Everyone got into the Christmas spirit and helped to raise vital funds that will help make a life-changing difference to the vulnerable children and young people that we work with.?

The appeal has so far raised over ?5,000, but donations can still be made online at http://uk.virginmoneygiving. com/AlanMacRae1

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