CHIPPENHAM MP Michelle Donelan has so far raised more than £7,000 after completing a 87-mile charity trek along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

The MP finished the marathon walk along the canal towpath from Bristol to Reading on Sunday evening accompanied by her partner Tom Turner and her colleague Laura Hall-Wilson.

They are raising funds to help the £200,000 appeal to purchase a new building to save the Holt Pre-school from closure.

Miss Donelan, 37, said on Tuesday: "I've got one enormous blister on my right ankle and sore legs but apart from that I survived.

"The last leg was the easiest because it was the shortest and it was the home stretch.

"The first day was the hardest because it was just too hot but after that the weather changed and it got easier.

"We saw lots of wildlife en route and some lovely houses but we are very pleased to finish and with the amount we have raised so far.

"We set a target of £5,500 but the absolute target is £45,000, so we are keeping our appeal open for another two weeks in case people want to donate."

The trio were given a rousing welcome at the Black Horse pub in Devizes by parents and children at the Holt Pre-school who turned up to cheer them on.

Miss Donelan and Mrs Hall-Wilson, 35, completed the 36-mile first leg from Keynsham to Devizes on Friday.

On Saturday, they set off to walk the second leg from Devizes to Newbury, and completed the third leg from Newbury to Reading on Sunday.

Holt Pre-school is trying to raise funds to replace its 50-year-old existing premises which are no longer fit-for-purpose.

Kate Buckrell, 42, the Holt Pre-school business manager, said they have already raised £165,000 and hope to raise a further £45,000 towards the cost.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the support from the local community, especially Michelle’s support and her walk today.

“We really hope we can reach our target . We have lots more events planned to raise funds and are hoping to get another £45,000.”

The fundraisers have applied for a government grant and will know within the next month whether their application has been successful.

If they can get the full amount, Mrs Buckrell says they will press ahead and order the architect-designed Passivhaus building they would like, which will be built to strict environmental standards.

Mrs Buckrell added: “We have located it on the site so that we can continue to use the existing premises until the new building is built.

“We have received lots of offers of help from volunteers in the village, including plastering, flooring and painting and decorating.”

The group has also received offers of desks from the Glove Factory, a laptop, furniture and appliances.

“People have been putting cheques through my door”, said Mrs Buckrell, whose own children attended the pre-school when they were younger.

The Holt Bridge Club closed and has just donated £130, and the Holt Luncheon Club closed and auctioned off its pots and pans, adding a further £1,000 to the total.

To donate, click here.