THE highest amount ever raised at an annual charity shopping event has been handed over to four worthy causes.

The most successful Durham Shopping Extravaganza to date saw £25,000 given 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.

The 29th DSE event, held at Ramside Hall Hotel, near Durham, last month made a profit of £28,000 and further donations will be made to more local charities early next year.

Nicky Swan, co-chair of the DSE, which is run entirely by volunteers, said: “This has been our best ever year, which is an incredible achievement and means that we can give more than ever to our charities.

“They all do an amazing job helping vulnerable people and there is no better reward for our committee and volunteers than to see us give donations that we’re told really make a difference to the work the charities do.

“It’s all down to the fantastic support we get from shoppers across the North East and beyond who come and spend during the two-day Extravaganza, our stallholders for donating ten per cent of their takings and our sponsors, whose support means that everything we raise at the event can go straight to charity.”

This year’s DSE was supported by BHP Law, Brewin Dolphin, Lycetts, Parklane Plowden Chambers and Sherwoods.

John Pratt, managing partner of BHP Law, said: “As sponsors we don’t do any of the hard work, that’s all down to the DSE committee and I’d like to congratulate them on their tremendous efforts.”

Kay Carrick, senior donor development fundraiser at St Cuthbert’s Hospice, said the money would pay for three days of patient services.

“That’s 11 patients in our in-patient unit, who receive 24-hour care, and 20 more in our Living Well Centre for three days. It’s an amazing amount to receive and we’re very grateful,” she said.

DFW Adoption, which finds families for children, is planning to use the money to preserve and archive the records of thousands of adoptions.

Director Jenny Parkin said: “We have over 10,000 case files, as well as ledgers covering family welfare dating back to 1925, so it’s important that all these records are available to people who want to trace their background when they are ready. The donation is magnificent.”

Tim Sedgewick, chairman of RABI County Durham Committee, added: “We are indebted to the DSE for their support. All the money will be spent in County Durham, going to farming beneficiaries who are retired or have fallen on hard times.”

Kim Michelle, services manager at My Sister’s Place, said their donation would support women affected by domestic abuse, helping them to re-start their lives.

She added: “We thought we would receive a couple of hundred pounds so to get £7,500 has blown us away. It will be used to support women, for example in securing housing or in a care package which can be anything from new white goods to clothing for children.

“We’ve expanded out of Middlesbrough across Teesside and into Darlington, so we’re over the moon to have received so much.”

  • The dates for next year’s 30th Durham Shopping Extravaganza have been confirmed as October 10 and 11, once again at Ramside Hall Hotel.