A MAJOR project to save lives by detecting breast cancer early has been given a huge boost after a two day fundraiser raised £51,000.

The £500,000 Wycombe Hospital digital breast screening appeal has been aided by Marlow Bottom's Rebellion Brewery.

About 6,000 visitors went to the annual open weekend.

Staff, who worked over the two days, gave up £3,700 in wages towards the cause.

Amanda Martin, from Scanappeal, said: "We are so grateful to the staff at Rebellion, the volunteers and all the visitors for their generosity which has meant that we have passed the half way mark for this appeal and can fund the first piece of equipment which will make such a difference for 23,000 local women each year."

Co-owners Mark Gloyens and Tim Coombes were delighted that the event, marking the brewery's 20th anniversary since opening, hit such heights.

Mr Gloyens said: "It gives us a real buzz that we can do it. We thought we could beat last year's amount but I don't think we'd ever thought we'd get to £50k.

"We are all absolutely thrilled, it cost the brewery a lot to put on but it's a great chance to give a good afternoon for our customers, it's a win for all the local people who supported the brewery over the last 20 years."

The micro-brewery has flourished during a period when large brewers and pubs have struggled.

Mr Gloyens said: "We now sell all our beer within 30 miles radius to Marlow. I think there's a real synergy between the brewery and Marlow, we're very focused on selling our beer locally. We have a fantastic following of local people.

"Through very tough times we're only as good a business as we are thanks to our support.

"The big brewers are finding it very difficult but the micro-breweries are reporting good solid support.

"Overall beer consumption is falling but there's still growth in this area."

Beer lovers enjoyed sampling the brewery's offerings and were also entertained by bands from the area, including St Sebastian, Wokingham Brass Band, The Shirt Lifters, The Straight Eight, The Maidenhead Concert Band and Sound Force, who gave their time for free.

Brewery bosses thanked staff and volunteers who worked over the weekend and the Jameson family at Bencombe Farm, who provided parking in their fields.