DONATIONS from visitors at the Thistles has netted much needed funds for two charities.

Start Up Stirling and Strathcarron Hospice recently received a cheque for £300 each after shoppers have been kindly putting loose change into an ancient well at an attraction.

The money was put away for safekeeping when lockdown started and was recently counted up following re-opening.

The Thistles supported both charities in the past through awareness raising and it was decided the money would be put to good use by splitting it equally between the two good causes.

Gary Turnbull, centre director, said: “The pandemic has stretched many sectors such as charitable organisations to the limit and having worked closely with Strathcarron Hospice and Start Up Stirling, donating the collection was our way of helping to ease some pressure on their resources.

“The team was bowled over when we discovered how much our amazing shoppers had given to the well.

“It’s such a simple gesture to offer some small change but the accumulated results speak volumes and makes this so heartwarming.”

For a number of years now, visitors have been contributing spare change at the dungeon known as the “thieves pot”.

It is a part of The Bastion: the remains of a 16th century jail on which the shopping centre was built on and which used to be a defensive tower in Stirling's town wall.

Claire MacDonald, business development fundraiser for Strathcarron Hospice, said: “These past few months have been difficult and challenging and we’ve all found ourselves working in new ways.

“We have adapted and extended our core services to include more support for people at home and in the community and our in-patient unit has always remained open.

“With our traditional fundraising events and campaigns cancelled, never before has the support of our local community been more vital in helping us to keep our services running.”

The £300 will support more than 12 hours of nursing care at the hospice, Claire adding the good cause is “incredibly grateful” to the Thistles and its customers.

For Start Up Stirling, the £300 will support effort to help people in hardship.

Julie Christie, communities and fundraising manager at the charity, said: “We want to thank everyone at Thistles and their customers who have supported us at Start Up Stirling during the lockdown.

“Our crisis foodbanks closed to keep the people who use our services and our volunteers safe.

“We switched to a home delivery service, helping individuals and families across Stirling district who needed our support.”