My family and I went along to Helmsley last Saturday for the Christmas festivities including the pop-up ice skating rink.

As we slid about the rink, and lights about us twinkled, I was reminded of how generous the shops had been in donating prizes for a raffle in aid of the Hawk and Owl Trust, a national charity.

In September, our vice-president, David Cobham, an eminent film producer (Tarka the Otter, The Goshawk) was giving a book launch talk at Helmsley Arts Centre. It seemed fitting to raise extra funds with a raffle. I am not a sales person, so I walked into the first shop unsure of my success. The charming owner of the Cut Price Bookstore generously chose a book from her local interest section.

Feeling encouraged, I continued to be given prizes by Helmsley Outdoors (who made the effort to take it across to the arts centre the next day as the manager was not in to ask – thank you); Janet, owner of Nice Things, donated a cute owl dish; the Co-operative some wine and Edinburgh Mill biscuits.

Ann, at Helmsley Antiquarian and secondhand book store, said she would ask the owner and came along to the talk clutching a book from the shop and another from themselves and chocolates from a friend.

Especially to the independent shops, we say thank you. £63 was raised on the night and has gone towards vital conservation work on Fylingdales Moor. Go to

Tanya Eyre, outreach and education officer, Fylingdales Moor Hawk and Owl Trust