A GENEROUS Bankie funded a trip to Madame Tussauds for 82 members of local group Golden Friendships.

The social group, aimed at helping disabled and elderly members of the community, enjoyed its first ever group holiday this month when the members enjoyed the four-day visit down south.

Golden Friendships founder Jim McLaren said: “Our guests paid £215 each and the cost of buses was covered by fund-raising and kindness of the supporters of Golden Friendships.

“The Bankies have been particularly supportive. Roughly £4,000 was donated through fund-raising.

“All 82 of us went to Madam Tussauds and this was paid for by a Bankie who wants to remain anonymous. We also visited Sea World and took a trip up Blackpool Tower.

“We had our own entertainment on the Tuesday night where I hosted karaoke, and everyone got up to sing - even ones who had never done it before.”

The group was followed around by a camera crew all week, in order to film a prospective documentary about Golden Friendships.

Glasgow-based Demus productions, which has previously made programmes for both STV and BBC Scotland, filmed the footage to create a pitch for TV executives.

Nick Low of Demus Productions said: “The goal is to show a commissioner some of our footage and convince them to commission a proper documentary about Golden Friendships, perhaps following the group over a year.

"It’s such a fantastic club that has turned some people’s lives in an incredible way.”

The planned documentary will focus on the theme of loneliness, and relate this theme to the group and its purpose.

Regardless of whether the documentary goes forward, the trip was an unforgettable experience for the members of Golden Friendships.

Jim said: “It was a very emotional trip with lots of relationship building and friendships occurring.”

Sharing his holiday highlights, member Mathew Kelly said: “Blackpool Tower has got to have been my favourite part. I went up the tower and lay flat on the glass floor, looking right down onto the street. The entertainment was absolutely brilliant too, and the whole holiday I took amazing photos.

“Golden Friendships has turned my whole life around. Before I joined the club, I wasn’t really doing anything.”

Member Etta also commented: “I had a fantastic time. I love the club, it really helps me so much and I feel that it has changed my life.”