A villager who set out to cheer her neighbours up during lockdowns by painting pebbles has now raised more than £8,000 for an air ambulance charity.

Since the first lockdown of 2020, Kellie Harvey, 27, from Pickhill, near Thirsk, has painted pebbles, and organised street bingo, raffles and auctions.

And now she plans to launch the Pickhill Pebble Association to raise more funds by continuing to put on events for all the community

Account manager Ms Harvey has presented a cheque for £8,114.50 to Tessa Klemz, regional fundraiser in the North for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance (YAA).

The Northern Echo: Kellie Harvey (left) with Tessa Klemz of Yorkshire Air Ambulance

“When I first started painting pebbles to leave around the village, I never imagined I would get to that figure,” said Ms Harvey.

“I started doing the pebbles to cheer people up and give them something to look forward to. As soon as I started organising other events, I couldn’t believe how much people were donating.

“Although I’ve been lucky enough to have no personal reason for using the air ambulance, I know how important the service is for people in Pickhill and the surrounding villages. A lot of people know someone who has needed it.”

The YAA, which operates 365 days a year, currently runs two helicopters – one is based at RAF Topcliffe, near Thirsk, while the other is based near Wakefield in West Yorkshire. The charity treated more than 1,200 patients last year alone.

Ms Harvey is to launch the Pickhill Pebble Association next year.

“It’s time-consuming, but I don’t mind because I love supporting the charity and providing entertainment for the people of Pickhill,” she said.

The Northern Echo: Kellie Harvey has been painting pebbles for the people of PickhillKellie Harvey has been painting pebbles for the people of Pickhill (Image: CHRISTINE FIELDHOUSE)

Ms Harvey also paid tribute to her local pub, The Nag’s Head, for support, and her boyfriend Nik Turton, 27, and brother Dan Harvey, 24, for helping her with events.

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Ms Klemz, from the YAA, said: "Kellie isn't just raising vital funds, she's also raising awareness for the charity, spreading joy around her village and saving lives across Yorkshire.

"There are five million people in Yorkshire and if everyone gave £1.50 per year, it would cover the cost of our service. Kellie is doing more than her fair share.

"A lot of our supporters have used our service, but fortunately Kellie hasn't. She is definitely one of a kind. We are incredibly grateful to her for her enthusiasm and commitment in raising such valuable funds and awareness of the life-saving charity in rural North Yorkshire."