THOUSANDS of pounds have been raised for a North Ayrshire cancer charity...and it's all thanks to a rare bird that turned up unexpectedly in a Kilwinning garden.

Avid birdwatcher Jimmy Crawford spotted an unusual-looking bird attending the feeders in his garden in Garnock View on Tuesday, February 20. 

After a few exchanges of messages and photos among the 'twitching' community, it was confirmed that the bird was a myrtle warbler.

We previously reported that it is thought to be the first time the bird has appeared on the UK mainland since 2014. 

According to reports, there are only around 30 sightings of the bird on record in the UK - almost all of them in the Western and Northern Isles.

It is also the first and only American warbler species to be recorded in Ayrshire.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The bird has been in Jimmy's garden since FebruaryThe bird has been in Jimmy's garden since February (Image: Justgiving) 

Its arrival prompted birdwatchers to come to the area from as far afield as Aberdeen, Inverness, Cambridge and Penzance to catch a glimpse for themselves.

And the bird is still there now.

The flood of interest prompted one local resident, Wayne Glossop, to set up an online fund-raising campaign in recognition of Jimmy's generosity in opening his garden to the public.

The fund-raiser was not for Jimmy himself, but for North Ayrshire Cancer Care, who are currently helping Jimmy's mother-in-law with her recovery.

The fund-raiser was launched in early March with a target of just £200, but has now exceeded 10 times its target. 

A total of £2,367 had been raised as this article was published, plus a further £553 in Gift Aid.

A spokesperson from North Ayrshire Cancer Care said: "One of our supporters has turned a popular hobby into a wonderful way of raising funds for our charity!

"Local man Jimmy Crawford spotted the rare bird in his garden over 50 days ago, and it's still there now.

"Keen birdwatchers can get in touch with Wayne and for a small donation Jimmy is allowing people access to his property in order to view for themselves this rare sight!

"So far, they have raised over £2,000, which is an incredible amount and will go far to help us with all of our endeavours.

"Thank you so much, Wayne and Jimmy!"

It is now almost 2 months since this rare bird appeared in Jimmy Crawford's back garden.

David Haining, North Ayrshire Cancer Care's chairman of trustees, said: "All of us at North Ayrshire Cancer Care would like to thank Jimmy and Wayne, and everyone in the bird watching community who has contributed to Wayne's just giving page, and to this remarkable story.

"North Ayrshire Cancer Care is a local charity based in Kilwinning. We receive no grants or funding from any public body and rely solely on the income from our six charity shops throughout North Ayrshire and the generous support, such as this, from the people of North Ayrshire.

"I personally find it such an uplifting story during the miserable wet weather over the last months, and the unrelenting grim global news."

To donate to the fundraiser visit