THE battling chair of a valiant community group praised hard working supporters who have raised £20,000 to help fund a legal challenge to prevent homes being built in its valleys.

Steve Hewitt, an Oldham borough councillor and chair of Save Our Valleys (SOV), said: "I am very proud of our dedicated hard working residents in Lees, Springhead and Grotton. We also have support from people in other parts of the Borough and even abroad.

“Our fundraising for the SOV Judicial Review Fighting Fund has gathered serious momentum.

“There is some creative thinking and good old fashioned hard work.

“A small group of people have been involved for over years and I have had the honour of fighting this development on four occasions alongside our residents.

“We started the fund with several Just Giving pages which raised over £3,000, there was also many donations made directly into the bank account.

“Then we decided to sell SOV T-Shirts with a small proportion going into the fund. A 200 Club was started where generous supporters could sign up after making £100 donation and received a 200 club T-Shirt.

“This proved very popular, and from this, we held our famous “Party in the Pavilion” at Grotton Pavilion which was a resounding success with many hours put in by lots of volunteers to make it happen.

‘Ac beer and quiz walk raised a substantial amount. This has led to us holding around £20,000 in the bank and has brought the community closer together.

“It has breathed life into the Grotton Residents Association, a Wild Life Watch has been created for the children and an Eco Watch for Adults and SOV meetings attracting between 60 and a 100 residents every time.”

He added: ‘We are not sitting on our laurels. More beer and quiz walks are planned which increases footfall in local hostelries and quiz nights and competitions in the local clubs.

"The next quiz is September 27 at the Liberal Club with prizes for the winners and a buffet for all of those who sign up.

“Many residents have become involved and we have online auctions selling premium items. In the future we are looking at car washes, car boot sales and an Autumn Ball where we can all wear our finery.”