A MELROSE teacher is selling homemade bird boxes to raise money for NHS Borders.

Tom Rawson, of St Mary's School, says the items are proving to be a soaring success.

Revealing that nearly £800 has been collected so far, Mr Rawson said: "The response has been overwhelming."

The JustGiving page was set up with the aim of raising £1,150 for NHS Borders charity The Difference.

Within a week, however, Mr Rawson had already generated £760.

"To raise £760 for NHS Borders in that time has really taken me by surprise," said the teacher, who was crowned Tweed Forum champion in 2019 for his efforts to reduce plastic consumption.

Mr Rawson made 150 bird boxes, with proceeds going to NHS Borders projects helping during the COVID-19 crisis.

"The lockdown period has been a very uncertain and sad time for many people," said Mr Rawson.

"I therefore decided to make the best of the situation to help out my local community with a simple and practical project."

Mr Rawson wanted the birdhouses to be environmentally friendly, he said.

"Building bird boxes at St Mary’s School, Melrose, in exchange for donations to the NHS Borders COVID-19 Pandemic Response makes a positive environmental impact as well as providing much needed local funding for local front-line health workers.

"Bird boxes provide ideal nesting spaces for small songbirds safe from the elements and predators like crows, magpies and grey squirrels.

"Having a birdbox in your garden is an ideal way to help out your local wildlife in a practical way that you can enjoy first hand."

At the time of going to print, there were 70 bird boxes left to be purchased.

Mr Rawson added: "There are still plenty of bird boxes available, so please donate if you can."

Looking to the future, Mr Rawson hopes to make more bird boxes – but for a different campaign.

He said: "I plan to make a further batch of 200 bird boxes with the support of Tweed Forum and the Nineveh Charitable Trust as part of an effort to supply every primary school in the Borders with 10 bird boxes over the next few years.

"Every child should have the opportunity to enjoy our beautiful wildlife wherever they live and learn."

For more information, you can visit Mr Rawson's Facebook page (www.facebook.com/greentweed.eco) or email him at trawson@stmarysmelrose.org.uk

You can access the donation page by clicking here.