SHOPPERS have raised more than £12,500 for Help for Heroes.

The charity, whose mission is to deliver an enduring national network of support for wounded soldiers and their families, were shown extraordinary support at Market Place Shopping Centre, Bolton.

Through donations and merchandise sales, including sweatshirts, wristbands, badges and T-shirts, shoppers raised £12,864.

Bill Smethurst, aged 53, of Buckley Lane, Farnworth, is a dedicated charity co-ordinator at Help for Heroes in Bolton and Lancashire.

He said: “I am very passionate about supporting our soldiers.

“My family have served in the armed forces for more than 50 years and my stepson is now serving in the Royal Marines so I understand the importance of a strong support network.

“The work Help for Heroes does offers great comfort for families who’s sons, daughters, fathers, mothers are risking their lives to protect our country.

“It certainly helps my wife and I to know our son is protected and honoured by the local community, so thank you to all the kind shoppers and management team and Market Place for making this possible.”

Nikki Wilson-Cook, manager of the centre, said: “We were more than happy to offer our support to such a remarkable charity. Our community is truly amazing and we all work together to help make a difference to our town and the lives of people within.

“Here at Market Place the community is at the heart of everything we do.”

For details about Market Place Shopping Centre fundraising events, the Victorian Vaults and nine-screen cinema project, visit bolton