A Balloch man is over the moon after a fundraising event raised £15,000 for his conservation and development charity’s 100 boreholes for clean water campaign.

Jamie Spencer set up Feedback Madagascar in 1993 after visiting the African island to study the lemur population during university and resolving to help those living there improve their lives and their environment.

Last week, the charity held a ‘Push the Boat Out’ party which involved an auction, a champagne supper and a whisky tasting with Charlie MacLean, a writer whose specialist subject is Scotch Whisky, and his three sons who are aiming to become the first trio of brothers to row any ocean.

The siblings or BROAR, as they call themselves, will set off on the 3,000 mile Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on December 29 and by doing so they aim to raise as much money as possible for their two chosen charities – Feedback Madagascar and Children 1st.

Former Gartocharn Primary pupil Jamie told the Reporter: “We are so happy with the huge amount raised thanks to the generosity of all our supporters and the hard graft of the organisers.

“The BROAR boys gave us a wee insight into what this almighty rowing the Atlantic challenge had in store for them and then entertained us by playing their instruments.

“Their dad Charlie MacLean treated us to a fascinating whisky tasting which I dare say played a part in the great bidding in the auction.

“We couldn't be happier with the £15,000, and rising, the night raised. It will go a long way to our campaign to build 100 boreholes to bring clean water to 25,000 people in Madagascar, the 7th poorest country in the world.”

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The charity, whose good work has previously been highlighted by David Attenborough in a documentary on the island, has to date put in 189 boreholes providing clean water for 48,000 people living on the forest frontier.

They work hand in hand with some of the poorest communities in Madagascar to identify their needs and work towards alleviating these - whether this be in healthcare, sanitation, nutrition, education or making a living.

In return these communities help the charity to fulfil their long-term vision of replanting, protecting and working in a durable way with the forests of Madagascar, to care for the invaluable biodiversity that exists within them.

Hermione Spencer, the charity’s chair of trustees, added: “Madagascar has lovely people and wonderful animals. It really is spectacular.

“It is a beautiful world and we need to do everything we can to preserve what we have. We need to enhance it, not destroy it.

“It is incredibly brave what the brothers are doing and so exciting for the charity because it is such an endorsement of our work.”

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