A charity shopping event that has raised more than £400,000 for worthy causes has announced its dates for 2016 together with the introduction of a new evening experience.

The Durham Shopping Extravaganza, which is held at Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham, is run entirely by volunteers.

Held over two days in October, the 28th event will offer new shopping times from 1.30pm-8.30pm on Wednesday, October 5, returning to traditional opening hours of 10am-4pm on Thursday, October 6.

Co-chair Nicky Swan said: “We are fortunate in being extremely well supported both by local shoppers and people who travel to our event – last year more than 1,300 people came through the door.

“However, we know that daytime only opening hours means many working people miss out. We’d also like to see more gentlemen coming along, so this year we’re introducing our first ever evening shopping hours. There will also be a free glass of wine for everyone coming after 5pm on Wednesday.”

The Senior Choristers of Durham Cathedral and members of the Galilee Choir, Chorister School, Durham, will provide musical entertainment during the evening.

Dozens of stallholders have already been selected and there will be more than 70 at the event, each donating ten per cent of their takings to the final charity total.

The DSE also receives donations and sponsorship from supporters including Sherwoods, Brewin Dolphin, Lycetts and BHP Law.

Last year’s event raised £20,000 with £6,000 each going to three principal causes – Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland, St Margaret’s Centre in Durham and Home Start Seaham. Other charities benefited from smaller donations.

Home Start’s Jane Burlinson said: “This money benefits so many people. It has given us a massive boost of confidence, particularly during these difficult times; knowing that our work is valued by you as a worthy cause. It also tells families they are not alone and that others do care about them.”

This year’s main beneficiaries are the If U Care Share Foundation, which supports those bereaved by suicide, St Teresa’s Hospice in Darlington and Tabitha’s Toys, which loans sensory toys to children with complex needs and their families.

For more information on this year’s event, visit www.durhamshoppingextravaganza.co.uk or email enquiries@durhamshoppingextravaganza.co.uk