A charity in Harpenden is overwhelmed by the generous support of residents who have donated £36,000 to support vulnerable people living in their town.

The Harpenden Trust, which is dedicated to helping residents suffering financial hardship or in need of a good neighbour, have beat their record fundraising target through their 60th fundraising Christmas appeal.

Leading up to the festive period, more than 200 trust volunteers gave out envelopes to 280 roads across Harpenden, where they asked residents to make small donations.

In a final count, this year’s appeal has beaten last year’s record collection of £33,000. The generous donations will now be used to offer a helping hand to those in need over the next 12 months.

Graham Westwell, chairman of the trust, said he was very surprised at the incredible amount raised by residents despite the economic hardship.

Mr Westwell said: "The generous donations have been incredible. The amount will now cover 40 per cent of our care fund for this year.

"We are in our 60th year now and I wasn’t expecting this amount. We are overwhelmed and it shows Harpenden people helping Harpenden people.

Residents were asked to fill the envelopes with donations, which were collected back later in December.

The donations will now go towards funding projects to support individuals or families facing financial difficulties.

Other projects include providing vouchers towards needy residents who struggle to pay for their utility bills, outings, school trips, home visits, Christmas parcels and community funding.

The appeal was first set up in 1952 and Mr Westwell said he remembers when donations amounted to £324.

Mr Westwell added: "It just seems to be getting better and better every year. This is an example of people who are well off and can afford to help out people that may need extra help.

"It is nice to see volunteers and residents putting something back in to their community."