A BIRTHDAY girl from the Belville Community Garden team gave up presents in favour of donations to help the charity support more people through the pandemic.

Volunteer development officer Lynda McFie says she has been so moved by the dedication of everyone at the anti-poverty project, and those giving up their own time, that she decided to use her 57th birthday to stage her own fundraiser.

She asked her family and friends to give a donation as a show of thanks to the volunteers and they generously obliged, raising hundreds of pounds.

Now the money will be spent supporting the project's efforts to help those who are toiling during the latest lockdown.

Lynda, who lives in Kilmacolm, said: "I have many different roles at Belville but I look after the welfare of our volunteers.

"They give so much and are amazing.

"I wanted to show my support for them by raising money, and I will ask them how they would like to spend it.

"The whole team go to such incredible lengths to support people.

"I am so passionate about the work that goes on here and wanted to do something to help."

Since coronavirus arrived here last March the community garden has been at the heart of the grassroots relief response.

At the height of the first wave they had hundreds of people receiving self-isolation boxes and the hub became so busy that a dedicated space had to be set up at a nearby community hall.

They continue to take part in local food aid programmes and now have a pantry outside their premises for people to help themselves.

Belville take food supplies from local stores and deliver to those in the greatest need, ensuring that nothing goes to waste needlessly.

The project also supports people with health conditions and other vulnerable members of the community.

In normal times it offers gardening groups, a soup kitchen, drop-ins and visits local schools to promote sustainable food.

The team say they are indebted to everyone who pitches in and those like the individuals who kindly donated in lieu of Lynda's birthday gifts.

She added: "I would like to thank everyone for their support, it means such a lot."