FIVE thousand high visibility vests have now been donated to school children across Dorset as a campaign gained further support last weekend.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire Service along with Christchurch police officers clubbed together with local businessman Mike Trimby to give away free hi-vis jackets to young school children.

They set up shop at Christchurch fire station between 10am-2pm on Saturday, offering the jackets to children aged 4-6, who are being encouraged to wear them whilst travelling to-and-from school.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved,” said Mike. “I run a business, I’ve got a family and all my spare time goes into this.

“The support we had from emergency services was amazing today, we distributed around 350-400 vests.

“Support from the community has also been fantastic, I would say 99% of the community is behind us. We received some very generous donations today, it is very humbling.”

Since Mike started the non-profit campaign, numerous organisations have got involved and the plan is to move the initiative on to a national scale.

AFC Bournemouth have already donated 1,000 vests and Mike says they are planning to do more to help.

“Vests cost £1 each, via a supplier in Charminster, and we have so far raised nearly £5,000.

“I’ve got an appointment with AFC Bournemouth during the week and we’re going to talk more about how they can help us. They’re now major players in this campaign.

“There has also been interest from Rotary UK, which would be brilliant. With their 100,000 members across 52 districts, and contacts in schools around the UK, they could make a huge difference.

“The Westbourne branch of Rotary said today they will buy another 500 vests.

“We would like it to become part of school culture and give kids a hi-vis vest as an item of their welcome back when they arrive at school. If we can roll it out to the new children starting in September, then we are on to a winner.”