AN amnesty at the outlet village exceeded all expectations and raised bags of money for Brighter Futures.

Fundraisers set up a pop-up shop in the MacArthur Glen outlet to sell donated handbags at bargain prices and raffle off a Mulberry handbag worth £900.

The raffle alone raised £874 and the handbag sales raised £1,747.65

Catherine Newman, associate director of funding at Brighter Futures, said: "That's a huge amount of handbags!

"This was our first handbag amnesty and it's been an incredible success. We didn't expect to get anywhere near that much money, it's massively exceeded expectations.

"We were hoping to reach £1,000 and altogether we've more-than-doubled that amount, which we never imagined we could do.

"People were so kind, they generously donated great designer handbags from big names like Radley and Osprey.

"At first, we only had a few donated bags, then it suddenly picked up and we ended up receiving hundreds of them.

"It's so nice for people around the town to think of others, get into the giving spirit and support us.

"A lot of people who came into the shop mentioned how important the hospital is and why they wanted to support our radiotherapy or SCBU or other appeals, which was really lovely."

The fundraising team weren't the only ones who were chuffed to bits by the amnesty's success - the designer outlet staff who liaised with them to make this all happen were also thrilled

Catherine added: "It was such a brilliant event that the outlet have already invited us back to do it all again on March 2 and 3 next year.

"We still have a few bags left over, which we'll either keep for the next one or sell at our stalls in GWH."

The Brighter Futures team hope to keep this success going with their annual Christmas raffle, which is sponsored by Mitsubishi.

There's a £3,000 prize up for grabs, with £1,000 for second place, £500 for third, and £100 for five runners-up.

Tickets will be available from the Brighter Futures Office and on certain dates in the atrium - see the charity's website for details.

The big draw will take place in the main atrium on December 21.

Catherine added: "It usually raises around £7,000 to £9,000 for us, which is great.

"It's always really wonderful to call someone up at Christmas and tell them the good news that they've won hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

"People are quite strapped for cash at this time of year, so it's nice for them to win such a big prize."