Thousands of surplus golf balls have been donated by Wheathampstead club members for recycling in order to help Ukrainian refugees.

Mid Herts Golf Club, based in Lower Gustard Wood, Lamer Lane, has been running the initiative over the past few months with the aim of boosting funds for humanitarian relief efforts.

It was devised by Terry Holden, who explained: "Two months ago, I was prompted to consider collecting members golf balls after a neighbour was more than grateful to let me have a bag of balls that were cluttering up his garage.

"He was not a golfer but often walked across Mid Herts Golf Course and sometimes came back with a few balls he had found. One morning these appeared on my doorstep unannounced as a kind gesture and this made me think of all the surplus balls that I have and no longer use.

"Then out of the blue I thought there must be many golfers who are in a similar position and knowing that a friend was about to set up an initiative to collect and resell high quality donated clothing no longer used, to raise funds for Ukraine, then maybe I could do something similar with golf balls of all quality both new and unused."

Wary of ending up with thousands of golf balls which might not be in good enough condition to sell he researched outlets for recycling, and found a company which carried some five million in stock, with the ethos of helping the environment by saving oil in making replacement balls.

"With the two-fold benefits of both Ukraine and the environment close to my heart I then set about persuading the club to allow me to pursue my initiative and immediately received a positive response.

"Initially one 45-gallon drum was cut in half to form two troughs into which golf balls could be loaded placed outside the hub, and a Ukrainian flag hung behind. All of this was explained to members in a newsletter. Soon thereafter balls started arriving by the bucket load and it became obvious that further barrels and containers would be required."

The balls are being sorted into various grades and bagged up into sacks by club professional Barney Puttick. Some members have made cash donations to support the campaign, whilst others have purchased the better-quality balls, but the vast majority will be recycled.

Terry added: "We have been overwhelmed with the thousands of surplus golf balls donated by our members. The campaign will be drawn to a close after the May Day Bank Holiday and then the club will be sending all cash donations to the Diocese of St Albans charitable fund for Housing Refugees from Ukraine and any surplus will be forwarded to the Disaster Emergency Committee."