Over £166,000 is Raised on Drive for Charity Day

MEL has an ongoing commitment to support the County Air Ambulance, which will receive £30,000. After that the remaining £136,000 will be divided between three chosen charities.

The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children), Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Staffordshire and Warwickshire Wildlife Trusts will each receive a cheque today for £45,424 presented by David Harrison, MIG director (owner of MEL) and Tom Fanning, chief executive of MEL.

Tom Fanning said: "We're delighted with the result, and I'm so pleased we've beaten last year's total. The money raised will go towards fantastic causes which all have a direct influence over the region which the M6toll covers.

"The M6toll has already brought major benefits to the region in terms of it's free flowing and stress free driving conditions, it's great to be able to give back even more to the local community with our Drive for Charity day as the money raised will go to local causes. We worked really hard with our chosen charities to organise the day and the fun day at our motorway services was really well received.

"We'd like to thank everyone who helped on the day and all our supporters who helped make the fun day a success. I'd especially like to praise our customers, many of whom donated even more than just their tolls by giving extra at the service area."

The fun day at the service area was officially opened by Bev Bevan, Saga 105.7 Fm presenter and ex-ELO and The Move drummer, and the Drive for Charity concept was supported by Suzi Perry, star of Only Fools on Horses and presenter of the MotoGP.

The amount the charities receive has been calculated by deducting VAT from the total toll takings from midnight to midnight on 26 July 2006 and MEL's ongoing commitments with the County Air Ambulance, and includes additional donations by customers at the toll booths and the service area and by staff who chose to 'Dress Down' for the day.

The NSPCC is the UK's leading charity specialising in child protection and the prevention of cruelty to children. Its work in the Midlands includes the 'Time Out' Young People's Centre in Chelmsley Wood and the Staffordshire Children's Advice and Representation Service which helps children and young people growing up in the care of the local authority. Last year over 10,000 calls were made from the West Midlands and Staffordshire alone to its Child Protection Helpline 0808 800 5000.

Janine Miller, corporate fundraising manager at the NSPCC, said: "We're so grateful to Midland Expressway and all its customers for the fantastic contribution. The donation is one of the largest we will see in the Midlands this year and will make a tremendous difference to the lives of so many children we help and support through our services in the local community".

Marie Curie Cancer Care provides free nursing care to cancer patients in their own homes. Marie Curie hospices actively promote quality of life for people with cancer and provide support for their families completely free.

Susan White, fundraising manager for Marie Curie Cancer Care, West Midlands, said: "We're absolutely delighted and would like to thank Midland Expressway for choosing Marie Curie Cancer Care as one of the beneficiary charities. We'd also like to thank the general public for their warm support on the day. The money will be used to support our Marie Curie Nursing Service throughout the West Midlands including Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield, Staffordshire and Warwickshire. Marie Curie Nurses provide 'hands on' care to terminally ill cancer patients in their own homes".

The 47 Wildlife Trusts across the UK make up the largest UK charity exclusively dedicated to conserving habitats and species and work for an environment richer in wildlife for everyone.

Yvonne Stevens, regional corporate manager for both the Staffordshire and Warwickshire Wildlife Trusts, said: "Both Trusts are delighted with the excellent result of the second annual Drive for Charity day. I would like to thank MEL for including the Trusts in this commendable initiative.

"In Staffordshire the money will help to develop our community and education work in Tamworth and the south of the county, especially in areas close to the M6toll. The money will enable us to maintain our network of 12 Junior Wildlife Watch groups and help provide training for the 20 leaders who run the groups. It will also help us maintain our high levels of Health and Safety and child protection.

"In Warwickshire the money will help with the creation and improvement of wetland habitats in the Tame Valley in north Warwickshire, benefiting species like the Water Vole, Otter, Bittern and Snipe."