The success of a Christmas sleigh fundraiser last year has led to the funding of numerous community groups. 

Westhoughton Rotary put on the event each year during the yuletide period, where the sleigh tours around the town to the joy of onlookers

It was announced in December that the fundraiser raised £6,000, and last month the rotary group announced the causes that would receive the money. 

Ex-president of Westhoughton Rotary, Jim Yates, said: “For many years the Rotary Sleigh has been an important part of Westhoughton Christmas celebrations.

"It is not only appreciated by the local community, but also supported by our local community too. 

“Our membership is not large and increasingly, we rely on a great band of helpers to complete our busy programme of evening and supermarket visits in our ever-growing town. 

”We are really grateful to the Guides, Inner Wheel and others and delighted that we have some of them with us tonight to help us celebrate and to see how the money they helped to collect is being used to assist local people through their wonderful charities and other organisations.” 

He added: “Thanks too to Kia for once again providing our magnificent, motorised sleigh. During the Christmas period it’s also vital to have a well-located base. Grateful thanks to local firm James Booth. 

"Both businesses gave us much appreciated and essential support.” 

Cheques were presented to more than a dozen community groups. 

Suzanne Livesey, representing Westhoughton Inner Wheel, told how the money would allow them to continue their support for other local organisations, especially Fortalice. 

Chair of Senior Solutions, Ronald Bell said he was proud of the way their charity was growing and adapting to meet the growing number of lonely and isolated people.

However many volunteers they had, they couldn’t manage without financial and other support. 

John Moutrie, Westhoughton Rotary’s secretary, also chairs the local REMAP group. He explained that their members were mostly retired engineers and occupational therapists who helped individuals with handicaps that could only be assisted with custom made solutions. 

Anne Davidson thanked the club on behalf of everyone at Bolton Hospice and Ellie Smith spoke about the respite care and other services provided by Derian House for younger people and their families. 

Sarah Skinner stressed the care given for babies and their families by their Bolton Neonatal Unit. 

The Bolton News: Santa with the Christmas SleighSanta with the Christmas Sleigh (Image: Westhoughton Rotary)

Parkinson’s Kay Poulton stressed the need for family support as well as for the sufferers. 

Prostate Care underlined the large numbers of men suffering from prostate problems locally, with 30 now attending their monthly support group for advice and help. 

Richard Budd explained how North West Blood Bikers transported vitally needed samples and patient notes to ensure correct treatment for hospital patients. 

Donations are used to pay the costs of maintaining members bikes, ensuring it remains free to the NHS. 

Mary Greenhalgh of Samaritans praised Rotary not only for financial help to their group of volunteers but also for the joy they brought to local children and their families at Christmas. 

Bolton Dementia Support received Rotary monies, which will fund their Memory Cafe sessions. 

Westhoughton Assist Service, which recently moved to the John Holt Community Centre also received funding. 

Blessings in Disguise runs social occasions and events specifically for autistic children and their families.

Bolton Guides will use the money to make their activities available to all by enabling girls from less well-off families be able to take part. 

Amateur theatre group the Bethel Crowd received monies, as did Friends of Westhoughton Station. 

The Wingates Band will also use Rotary cash to buy music scores for their performances. 

In closing, President Arthur Price appealed to more people to get involved with Westhoughton Rotary Club and their service to the town.