MP praises efforts of a one-man village fundraising machine

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EVEN by the impressive standards of Rugby folk, £50,000 is a lot of money to raise.

And more remarkably still, it’s not the result of years of work by a large team - it’s thanks to the efforts of just one man and a handful of supporters.

Malcolm Smith has now been honoured for reaching the landmark sum by Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Ambulance - and it all started in 2004.

Malcolm said: “I only intended to hold a couple of car boots.

“I put a sign on the gate, 15 booters turned up and we raised £100. But people were saying ‘you can’t pack in now’, the phone started ringing with people wanting to book a space and it has just got bigger.”

The former Jaguar worker from Binley Wood now holds 14 sales a year on the four-acre field he owns in Brandon.

And the £50,000 is only part of the story. Despite having undergone a triple heart bypass operation, he’s raised a further £13,000, from which the RNLI and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Centre in Wolston have benefited.

Malcolm’s achievements have been praised by Rugby MP Mark Pawsey. He said: “I would never have dreamed that so much could be taken at car boot sales - he, his team and supporters stand proud within the community for their hard work, knowing their money is going towards saving more lives a lot faster by air.”

The annual cost of providing the service is £1.7 million, with the two helicopters costing £4,000 per day whether flying or not. Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance chief executive Andy Williamson said: “We offer the best service anywhere in the country and can only do it because of the support we receive from the community through the work and dedication of people like Malcolm.”

Air ambulance fundraising manager Jo Payne said: “I have known Malcolm since he brought his first donation of £100 - he is an absolute star.

“It is the hard work and dedication of people like Malcolm that keeps us in the air and saving lives.”