A NORTH-EAST hospice is celebrating an unexpected windfall after a local travel agency auctioned off a dream holiday to China.

Travel agency oneworld, in Yarm, handed over £6,111 to Butterwick Hospice Care after putting the holiday up for auction during its annual fundraising evening at Crathorne Hall.

The trip to China for two was won by local business owners Jill and Graham Tyerman, with a winning bid of £5,000. A further £1,111 was raised by a raffle during the event.

Managing director Samantha Harvey said: “We have a tradition of supporting good local causes, and it was a pleasure to donate a trip for two to China for auction, which Mr and Mrs Tyerman very kindly bid on and won.

“We decided to donate the prize because, as a small business at the heart of a living, breathing local community, we see the wonderful work of Butterwick Hospice, which they need millions to carry out. That’s a big task, and we try to support our charities as much as possible – I always put my money where my mouth is!

“Yarm High Street has started to experience some difficulties, but we hope to show how a thriving community hub can really make a difference, and why supporting local business benefits our whole area.”

Jill Tyerman (left) and Samantha Harvey were pleased to support the hospice

Jill and Graham, who run local health and safety firm Steel River Consultants, bid on the trip as a 50th birthday present for Jill.

Jill said: “Graham went to China last year on business, but he only really saw one factory and none of the sights, so it’s lovely that we’re going back together. We’ve always wanted to visit the Great Wall of China, and the Terracotta Warriors are supposed to be amazing.”

“We love exploring, so this trip looks fantastic, and it’s really handy that oneworld arrange everything so we can just enjoy ourselves. We’re delighted that we can now fly straight from Durham Tees Valley Airport too.”

“It was a very exciting night, and we’re so pleased that the money is all going to a charity like Butterwick Hospice.”

Lyndsey Barnes, a fundraiser for Butterwick Hospice, said: “The support of local businesses like oneworld, and of local people like the Tyermans, is absolutely vital to the hospice’s work.

“As a charity dedicated to the people who need us, it’s always very heartening to see just how much that work is valued in the communities we help.

“I’d like to thank Samantha and her team at oneworld, and Jill and Graham, for their generosity. I hope they have a fantastic time in China, and we wish Jill a very happy birthday!”