An ambitious crowdfunding campaign has been launched to bring plans to extend the Borders Railway to Carlisle to fruition.

Members of Campaign for Borders Rail (CBR) are aiming to take the Edinburgh to Tweedbank line further through the border towns of Hawick, Newcastleton and Longtown.

The drive has began to help the group create a fighting fund of £10,000 to achieve its ambition.

It comes after UK and Scottish Government ministers joined the leaders of five councils in July to sign the heads of terms agreement for a £394.5 million Borderlands Growth Deal deal, designed to bring major investment to the region.

It is a major step towards the signing of a full deal to fund a feasibility study into extending the line to Cumbria.

The UK Government is investing up to £265m, £200m of which is going south of the border, while the Scottish Government has pledged £85m, while the five local authorities involved in The Borderlands initiative will contribute a total of £44.5m.

The growth deal is the first cross-border deal of its kind, bringing together five cross-border local authorities - Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council, Carlisle City Council, Cumbria County Council and Northumberland County Council.

Simon Walton, chairman of the CBR campaign, said: “The generosity and commitment of the membership continues to impress me.

“They’ve consistently contributed to the running of the campaign, but the financial burden of engaging with governments and agencies up and down the country cannot be borne solely by those dedicated individuals.

“We have ten times that number who informally support the campaign so we’ve launched a wider fundraising initiative to let that wider body offer support, even if they don’t feel they can commit to full membership.”

The CBR added that the money raised would underwrite the campaign’s engagement with stakeholders as the project moves through the critical feasibility study phase.

“We are entirely voluntary and we’re lobbying for the biggest development project in Britain without any paid officers.

“That’s not a boast, it’s a tribute to the commitment of the individuals involved with the Campaign for Borders Rail,” Simon added.

The 30-mile Borders Railway route between the Scottish capital and the Border town, situated by the river Tweed, was the longest new line built in the UK for more than a century when it was opened by the Queen in September 2015.

Those wishing to make a donation to the campaign can do so at