A PEEBLESSHIRE business owner has praised the generosity of the community after it raised almost £1,500 over the weekend for UNICEF’s Ukraine appeal.

Velvet Hall Alpacas in Innerleithen organised a weekend of fundraising from March 12-14 to help raise money for people in Ukraine.

The alpacas visited Caberston Farm Coffee Shop on Saturday, then people joined an alpaca trek on Sunday with the alpacas visiting the Co-op in Innerleithen later that afternoon.

And on Monday the alpacas spent the morning at the Tontine Hotel in Peebles.

Stuart Ramsay, who runs Velvet Hall Alpacas told the Peeblesshire News: “Like most people when you get up in the morning and you see the news it’s just so depressing what was going on.

“Like a lot of people we felt we wanted to do something – you feel so helpless.

“Initially we thought we would just do a normal trek but we’d put any money we make from the trek to UNICEF.”

But it was while sat in Caberston Coffee Shop that a member of staff suggested Stuart and his team bring the alpacas to them.

Stuart added: “Everybody’s been so helpful.

“It’s just been fantastic.”

Across the three days Velvet Hall Alpacas raised £1,493.04 for UNICEF.

Stuart said the amount raised was “unbelievable”.

“We thought if we could make £500 or £600 we’d be delighted,” said Stuart. “But when we had our first event at Caberston Coffee Shop I think we made around £320.

“After we were at the Co-op when we added it all up we had over £850.

“It was unbelievable to get to nearly £1,500.

“We were taken aback really.

“People were coming across the street taking money out and putting it in the bucket.

“We’re really grateful to everybody who donated, it was just incredible.”

Stuart said that if the conflict continues Velvet Hall Alpacas will also continue to donate funds to Ukraine.

“We were contacted by a couple of companies in Peebles saying next time we were doing anything could we go to them, so it is something we’ll probably do again,” he said.