A TOTAL of 15,000 Easter bunnies have been donated to local foodbanks by Blenheim Palace.

The chocolate treats were orginally intended for visitors over the Easter holidays and have also been sent to the South Oxfordshire Food & Education Academy (SOFEA), which will distribute them throughout the Thames Valley region.

Also, over 1,700 bottles of Blenheim mineral water have been sent to NHS staff working in the intensive care units across Oxford University Hospitals.

The Estate has also provided free office space at its Witney Business & Innovation Centre to a couple; one working with vulnerable children and the other providing IT support for the NHS.

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Both were unable to get to their places of work due to travel restrictions.

"We are in a position where we are able to provide at least some help and assistance to local people carrying out really important work," said Blenheim chief executive Dominic Hare.

"These are extraordinarily testing times for absolutely everybody and it's an opportunity for all of us to step up, work together and support each other.

"Blenheim, like many thousands of businesses across the country, is facing a crisis unlike anything it has ever had to deal with.

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"However, this is also a chance for people to demonstrate just how resilient and vitally important our communities really are.

"By working together and offering each other help and comfort we will be able to emerge from this terrible situation having forged stronger and more enduring links which will prove invaluable in the future."