A CHARITY bottle bank scheme that has raised more than £30,000 for Multiple Sclerosis over 28 years is set to close after funding was withdrawn by Lancashire County Council.

Longridge resident John Farmery, 74, started the project in 1986 in memory of his wife Elaine who suffered from MS.

The former pet shop owner’s initiative will close at the end of March after LCC voted to remove its funding at a meeting at County Hall on Thursday.

The scheme, which is based in the Booths car park, was opened by comedian Frank Carson who was serving at the president of the Blackpool branch of the MS society.

The bank raised £660 in 2013 but will now close as part of the county council’s plan to reduce their budget by £300m over the next four years.

Mr Farmery, who lives in Eden Gardens, said: “When I started there were no kerbside collections and the bottle banks were the places where people went to recycle their glass.

“This just isn’t the case anymore and the role of the bottle bank has been dramatically reduced.

“I’m very proud of what I have achieved over the years and it’s great that so much money has been raised for MS research which would not have been raised otherwise.

“The bottle bank has done its job but I’m very sad to see it go.

“I expected the council to make this decision and I can see it from their point of view.

“I’m just glad that I did it and was able to do a bit of good.”

David Borrow, deputy leader of the county council and cabinet member for finance, said: “In the early days of recycling, when there were no doorstep collections by councils and we were trying to encourage more recycling, one of the incentives was to pay firms and organisations an additional payment.

"Things have now changed completely.

“The level of recycling has increased and there is now a well-established market for recyclables with good money to be made by collecting them.”

A final decision to withdraw the funding will be made at the next full council meeting.