A CHARITY race day at Worcester racecourse provided some real horsepower for a heritage railway skills project.

The race day for Severn Valley Railway on Wednesday proved itself a winner, raising funds for the railway’s Heritage Skills Training Academy.

The racecourse donated £3 per ticket sold, and a VIP lunch at the course for more than 200 of Worcestershire’s most prominent business people, including representatives from MFG Solicitors, Allelys Heavy Haulage and Houghton Edwards investment management.

Guests enjoyed live racing and had the opportunity to bid in a promises auction.

Prizes included tickets to ride on the Flying Scotsman during its visit to the Severn Valley Railway in September.

Guests at the lunch also learnt how a proportion of the money raised at the race day will be going to support the Railway’s Heritage Skills Training Academy.

Nine young people are currently apprenticed in the Academy, gaining skills in the motive power department, the carriage and wagon works and in maintaining the permanent way and infrastructure of the railway.

Nineteen-year old George Brogan, in his second year of training, said: "The training we get at the SVR is second-to-none.

"As well as our basic engineering studies at college, we’re being exposed to the traditional skills needed on a heritage railway, such as boiler making, and locomotive and carriage restoration.

"I’m so grateful that my apprenticeship with the SVR is being supported in this way."

The chairman of the race day’s organising committee, Phil Dutton of Handelsbanken, Worcester, added: "When you get the necessary business impetus behind an event like this, it's amazing how much of a difference you can make. We're proud to support the Severn Valley Railway because not only is it the most marvellous heritage attraction, but it also makes a significant contribution to our regional economy."

To make a donation to the SVR Charitable text ‘SVRC00’ and the £ amount to 70070.