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The volunteers behind an annual charity shopping event have announced which organisations are to benefit from its historic 30th anniversary extravaganza later this year – while planning their most ambitious event to date.

The Durham Shopping Extravaganza is thought to be one of the longest running charity events in the North East, raising more than £400,000 over the last three decades.

All of the profits raised go to a range of beneficiaries in and around County Durham mostly within weeks of the event.

This year’s extravaganza on October 10 and 11, at the newly extended Ramside Hall Hotel near Durham, will support Upper Teesdale Agricultural Support Services (UTASS), the North East Autism Society, Grace House Hospice in Sunderland and three local branches of Phab in Durham, Seaham and Stockton & Billingham.

The volunteer committee is aiming to mark the 30th anniversary by raising a record amount that would take the total raised to £500,000.

Co-chair Nicky Swan said: “Our volunteers are really fired up to make our 30th anniversary event the best and biggest yet and we have set ourselves an ambitious fundraising target.

“The 2017 extravaganza was the most successful to date with profits of £28,000 and, with the support of our wonderful stallholders and shoppers, we would love to increase this significantly in 2018.

“The current committee, and retired volunteers who join us to help at the event, give their time and expertise for free. We couldn’t do it without them, or those businesses who have continued to support us for many years – BHP Law, Brewin Dolphin, Lycetts, Parklane Plowden Chambers and Sherwoods.”

Nicky added: “Many of our stallholders return year after year – some travelling hundreds of miles – because of the friendly welcome they receive from North East shoppers. We will also be introducing more new stallholders with exciting and unusual products this year to ensure there is something for everyone, from food to fashion, gifts to gardens.”

A total of £25,000 from 2017 event has already been presented to St Cuthbert’s Hospice and DFW Adoption, in Durham, My Sister’s Place, Middlesbrough, and the County Durham committee of RABI, the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. A range of smaller charities are to benefit in the coming weeks.

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