CIRENCESTER’S Coventry Building Society branch astonished a local charity this week with a donation of over £29,000.

Willow Trust administrators, Linda Diggory and Liz Rowland were completely overwhelmed when Coventry Building Society Manager, Tracy Ellis presented the charity with the cheque for the substantial amount.

The Willow Trust provides days on the water for thousands of people from the Cotswolds with disabilities and serious illnesses each year and all completely free of charge.

Linda Diggory explained: “The Coventry Building Society’s support over the years is never taken for granted and always greatly appreciated. We rely totally on our own fund-raising efforts to keep these days completely free of charge so this wonderful donation will help us continue to reach the people in our local communities most in need - people who live with the daily challenge of disabilities, as well as serious illnesses and often social isolation.”

She added: “Many of our guests tell us they look forward to these precious days from one year to the next and some even say it’s the very best day of their year.”

Liz Rowland who helped found the charity in 1989 said: “We never, ever expected to receive a donation like this. It illustrates the generosity of the people in our community and of course this amazing team at the Coventry.

“Many of the groups that come on board are from the Cirencester area, including Cirencester Parkinson’s Group, Watershed RDA and Paternoster School. We are the only boat charity which provides days like this where no-one pays for a wonderful day on the water.”

A delighted Tracy Ellis added: “I have worked for The Coventry for 10 years and one of the areas I love the most is the work we do in the community.  Our customers continue to support all the fund raising events we hold, which enables us to give back to a worthy charity, such as the willow Trust.”