A FUNDRAISING event for a volunteer-run children’s musical theatre group has been saved at the last minute - with a little help from the Argus.

Every year the Venture Players, based in Newport, organises a shopping trip to Birmingham, helping to boost its coffers by selling raffle tickets and playing bingo during the two hour trip. Each year the event raises around £500, which goes towards the group's activities throughout the year.

But on Tuesday disaster struck, when the coach company the group had booked the trip with in August, Cavendish Coaches, cancelled it at the last minute because of a mechanical fault.

“I was in a right state,” said organiser Joanne Davies


“We phoned around 60 companies, but because of the Wales game and it being Black Friday weekend, we couldn’t find anyone.

“We didn’t just have people wanting to go shopping, but we had fathers who had bought football tickets to see Birmingham City while we all went out.”

And that's where the Argus stepped in - after petitioning Newport Bus to help out, they moved Heaven and Earth to secure a 65-seater coach, ensuring the trip could go ahead.

When the Argus broke the news to Mrs Davies, she said: “Oh my God, that is amazing, that is incredible.”

Helen Burgess, operations manager for Newport Bus, said: “As the main transport provider to the city, we’re happy to help Venture Players with their Christmas trip.

“Proud members of the Newport community, we are always happy to help whenever possible.”

Mrs Davies, a self-confessed shopaholic, added that she was “absolutely thrilled”.

“It would’ve been a huge loss to us had we not been able to go ahead," she said. “I can sleep now.”

Mark Carpenter, of Cavendish Coaches, said: “We never like to let any customers down and it is very rare this has happened.

“This incident is totally out of our hands.”