Christmas came early for some of the local charities and good causes that benefitted directly from last month's Wales Rally GB.

In total, volunteers who organised the spectator car parks during the event raised more than ?41,000 for clubs, schools and other groups based in both mid and north Wales. A further ?4,450 was generated for the Richard Burns Foundation and Wales Air Ambulance, largely by the public's generous donations made during the rally.

This week, four of the voluntary groups were presented with cheques totalling in excess of ?12,000 by Wales Rally GB managing director Ben Taylor during a special evening at the Glan Llyn Inn in Clawddnewydd near Ruthin.

It was a highly appropriate and symbolic venue as the funds raised by the local community association - Antur Cae Cymro - in the Clocaenog forest car parks in the past two years have made a significant contribution towards saving the village's 100-year old pub.

"Last year, the community had ten weeks to raise ?90,000 to buy this pub," confirmed Antur Cae Cymro's Dylan Jones, "The rally came along at just the right time and made a big difference to us. The group now has a community hall, thriving pub and a local shop which serve the three local villages. We look forward to the rally each year and hope to be helping out again in 2015."

The other fund-raisers collecting cheques were The Rotary Club of Ruthin, Clybiau Ffermwyr Ifranc Meirionnydd (Young Farmers Club in Gwynedd) and Ysgol Cerrigydrudion, a predominantly Welsh speaking Primary school in the region. All three will be putting the significant funds raised during Wales Rally GB to great causes.

"It makes us incredibly proud to see what a positive impact Wales Rally GB has on the communities in which it takes place," Taylor concluded, "Inevitably, we tend to focus on the ?10.8m of economic benefit that the rally brings to the Welsh economy, but it is so much more powerful when you see first-hand that the money raised by these local groups is making a real difference to everyday lives in the region."

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