IT was a case of full steam ahead for a charity race day in Worcester today (Wednesday) which will help restore and preserve the heritage of the railways.

The Severn Valley Charity Raceday at Worcester Racecourse literally brought some locomotion to a fundraising drive which included one of their tank engines taking centre stage.

The fundraising took place in both a VIP lounge and in the central enclosure, raising a grand total of £34,500.

The locomotive was driven through Worcester ahead of its appearance at the racecourse.

Worcester Racecourse donated £3 out of every £8 entry fee the Severn Valley Railway Trust. Organisers hoped to raise £30,000 from the day but the fundraiser surpassed all expectations, raising £34,500, enough to pay for an apprentice for four years.

The apprentices learn specialist engineering skills as the locomotives cannot be repaired and maintained using modern tools.

They will plug a skills gap left by those engineers who no longer work on the Severn Valley Railway or have died.

So far there are eight apprentices but the aim is to recruit two more for the 2015 intake.

Fundraising manager Shelagh Paterson said: "It has surpassed expectations. This will enable people to restore the locomotives, the carriages and the infrastructure.

"The racecourse has been incredibly generous. They worked very well with us in the VIP suite."

The locomotive was brought free of charge by Allelys Haulage and the fundraiser was sponsored by Thursfields Solicitors.

Miss Paterson said: "It is our biggest fundraising event of the year. What is great is that local companies have come and supported the day."