Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.13.30Tea and cake were the menu at the official opening of a new branch of the North East’s biggest building society.
 
Costumed guests from Beamish Museum hosted a Victorian tea party for customers at the Newcastle’s new Front Street branch in Chester-le-Street, at which visitors had the chance to win a family pass to Beamish and a £100 Love2Shop in a free prize draw.
 
The volunteers from Beamish also shared their dressing up box with customers, as well as showing off memorabilia from the museum and holding a ‘guess the mystery object’ competition.
 
Local historian Dorothy Hall also gave a talk about Chester-le-Street’s history, with everyone attending receiving a free book on the town’s development through the 20th century.
 
Representatives from the branch’s current and previous dedicated charities, St Cuthbert’s Hospice andsuicide prevention and education charity The If U Care Share Foundation, also took part in the opening event.
 
The event marked the completion of a 12-week refurbishment programme at the new Chester-le-Street branch, which has been designed to improve the experience customers have when visiting the branch, and to provide the most appropriate facilities for anyone wanting to discuss their personal finances on site.
 
This investment is symbolic of other refurbishment programmes in the Newcastle’s branch network, with the Cramlington and North Shields branches also embarking on their own redevelopment initiatives. 
 
Lee Metters, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Chester-le-Street branch, says: “Our customers have been asking us when the new branch was going to be ready and it was great to be able to share it with them.
 
“Our guests from Beamish helped to make it a very special day, and we were really pleased to get so many people coming along to join us for a cuppa.”
 
Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “Our branch network is absolutely central to the Society’s operations, and is the public face of everything that we do.
 
“This investment in Chester-le-Street is the latest indication of our continuing commitment to offering everything through it that our customers would want and expect, and we hope local customers enjoy the impressive new facilities that are now available to them.”