THE Woodlarks Centre and Brightwells Gostrey Centre were both presented with cheques for £15,000 by former Farnham mayor Mike Hodge.

More than £28,000 was raised from the Otter Wey project which was adopted by Mr Hodge as his principal fundraising activity.

Local businesses, organisations and individuals sponsored 44 one-metre tall otters, which were then decorated by a range of artists. Before being auctioned at Farnham Castle in July, the otters were put on display along a seven-mile trail.

Woodlarks is a care home and activity centre for 22 people who have a range of disabilities.

Trustee Simon Farrant said: “It has come as a wonderful surprise to receive such a generous donation and the money will be put to very good use. At Woodlarks, we were thinking of a fundraising project and the idea came when we spoke with councillor Hodge soon after he became mayor and the rest is history.”

He added that the money may be used to purchase a new minibus or put towards laying a path to a recently renovated bungalow.

Brightwells Gostrey Centre helps prevent social isolation in older people by providing mental and physical stimulation classes and a freshly cooked lunch.

Lucinda Fleming, chairman of trustees, said: “We have now moved to the Memorial Hall so there will be lots of new projects and initiatives which we will be able to put this money towards. We are so thrilled councillor Hodge chose us as one of his charities and are delighted to receive this cheque.”

Mike Hodge said: “It was a pleasure to present such a large sum of money to The Woodlarks Centre and Brightwells Gostrey Centre but I realise that without the support of a great many people, it would not have been possible.”

He went on to thank the Lions Club of Farnham, who managed much of the project and led on securing sponsorship, Jo Aylwin, who led the artistic side of the project, Farnham South Street Trust, Farnham Institute Charity and all those involved. Staff and volunteers at both charities were also thanked for “doing such a wonderful job” and for making a “positive difference” to people.

Money raised by the project was boosted by those who attended the mayor’s civic service and the civic Christmas carol service.