FORMER employees at Chard meals firm Oscar Mayer have raised £4,000 for the community.

The workers were given the opportunity to purchase personal items and/or memorabilia when the company closed its Chard facility in August after 38 years in the town.

Items sold included signage to the site, a picture signed and donated by the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes many years ago, and cooking equipment for use in new business ventures.

Oscar Mayer’s management pledged to donate all of the monies raised to good causes in the local area, with the following four organisations each receiving £1,000:

Ferne Animal Sanctuary – Oscar Mayer sponsored this sanctuary, which is well known and loved in the community, providing much-cherished days out for Chard families.

Holyrood Academy: supporting children whose first language is not English – Oscar Mayer sponsored an annual award for children who have flourished despite English not being their mother tongue, many of whom were related to Oscar Mayer’s migrant workforce who brought so much to the company and the Chard community.

Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance – Oscar Mayer supported the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance service for many years as one of its chosen charities.

League of Friends of Chard Hospital – although Oscar Mayer does not have any specific link to this charity, it is a real Chard institution and many former employees are likely to have some connection to the League of Friends.

Nancy Featon, former Head of Human Resources at Oscar Mayer in Chard, said: “We felt very strongly that it was right to give something back to the community after Oscar Mayer’s long association with Chard.

"We welcome being able to show our appreciation to these highly deserving local organisations, all of which play a vital role in the Chard area, supporting both our former employees and the community at large.

"It’s a way for us to say a final goodbye with our thanks and good wishes.”

David MacCormick, headteacher at Holyrood Academy, said: “I would like to offer my thanks to all who have contributed to this fund and for the kind donation to our school.

"We will ensure that this money is used to provide equipment, experiences and support for our children who speak English as a second or other language.

"It will make a huge difference to our young people.”

Bill Sivewright, CEO of Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, added: “During these troubling times, thanks to your support, our crew are continuing to provide a critical care service for 19 hours a day, both by air and by road.

"Your donation at this difficult time really will make a big difference and enable us to be there for the patients who need us.”