NETBALL players from Wiltshire and beyond have helped a couple raise £1,567 for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance Airbase Appeal in memory of their daughter.

John and Sandra Phillips presented a cheque to paramedic Jo Gilbert and pilot Rob Backus, in memory of their daughter Michelle, who died in a north Devon road accident in April 2004.

They were assisted by Teresa Strange and Cath Watts, of Melksham Netball Club, who organised a fundraising netball tournament at the Chippenham Dome on January 21 in memory of their former team-mate.

Michelle would have celebrated her 40th birthday two days later.

Team members Sue Mortimer and Mel Rolph, the club’s chairman, were also there to help hand over the cheque.

Sandra, 70, of St George’s Court, Semington, said: “It was great to see all the girls at the netball tournament and to celebrate Michelle’s birthday with them.

“The money just keeps coming in and we are delighted to be presenting this cheque to the appeal.”

Over the past 14 years, the couple and their twin sons, Darren and Darrel, have raised £17,245 for the Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Mel said: “It was a real honour to attend the presentation and help hand over such a large cheque to such a worthy cause.

“Michelle was a lovely girl, very friendly and outgoing and was such a loss to the club. It’s good to see so many people come together to help raise funds in her memory.”

Up to 100 netball players from Wiltshire and the Vale Club in Oxfordshire took part in the tournament, which was won by Melksham Robins, who beat Chippenham in the final.

Cas Loudon, donor relationship co-ordinator at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We’re so grateful to Melksham Netball Club and John and Sandra for choosing our Airbase Appeal to benefit from the netball tournament, in memory of Michelle.

“Michelle’s family and friends have raised a phenomenal amount over the years for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, enabling our helicopter and crew to keep flying and saving lives.

“This is a true testament to how well loved Michelle was by everyone. We would like to thank them so much for their support.”