PRISONERS held to ransom at Barnstaple Guildhall did such a good job of securing money for their release they raised £14,475 for local children. Councillors, businessmen and other prominent members of society were captured and taken to the Friday even

PRISONERS" held to ransom at Barnstaple Guildhall did such a good job of securing money for their release they raised £14,475 for local children.Councillors, businessmen and other prominent members of society were "captured" and taken to the Friday event via limousine, plied with food and drink to loosen their tongues and then asked to phone around for donations to the North Devon Children's Appeal.Ransom and Release was organised by NCH to fund projects at Children's Centres (Sure Start) in Barnstaple, Ilfracombe and Bideford."It was a fantastic day," said Marie Slade, programme administrator at the My Start Centre in Ilfracombe."I think everyone enjoyed themselves and we raised a lot of money for a good cause."Collecting for specific local projects is a pilot initiative for NCH and North Devon is one of the first to try it.Bideford is looking to add a covered outside play area, while Barnstaple's Victoria House is seeking to create extra play space and Ilfracombe a mobile resource library.Deputy leader of the district council, Councillor Des Brailey, took part in the day:"It went exceptionally well, although it was quite a tiring day because you are working so desperately to raise money!" he said."I am very grateful to those who donated, including Eric Cawthorne and Richard Brend plus the very many people - all stars - who helped us raise so much.