A FREE cone day at Empire cinema raised more than £1,250 for the Adver’s 160 Appeal in aid of Prospect Hospice.

Staff at the filmhouse gave away scoops of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream on Tuesday to anyone walking into the multiplex as part of the brand’s national free cone day in exchange for a donation for the Wroughton charity. Cinemagoers were also invited to take a chance at fete-style games such as hook-a-duck and enjoyed a variety of activities, including face-painting.

Employees were baffled to discover they had far surpassed their £750 target, reaching a whopping £1,266, as they counted the money collected at the end of the night.

“We’re grateful to the Empire Cinema for this event, and for the money they have raised through it,” said Amy Francombe, Prospect community fundraiser.

“Our services cost nearly £5.8m every year, over 70 percent of which we have to raise ourselves.

“It’s these kind of initiatives from local businesses, supported by our community, that help us to give our vital care to nearly 2,000 people and their families every year.”