IT'S not every day that the North-East is touched by Hollywood stardom.

So when two A-list movie stars dropped in on a local hospice it certainly made for a Christmas to remember.

Film star Tom Hardy and his fiancee, the actress Charlotte Riley, spent more than an hour meeting and chatting with patients and staff when they called in at the Butterwick House Children's Hospice in Stockton, Teesside to hand over a cheque for £24,000.

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The London-born star of Batman - The Dark Knight Rises and science fiction thriller Inception, 36, raised the money when he took part in an expedition in Siberia with Miss Riley's uncle, Peter Riley, who has been involved with the Hospice from the outset.

The couple, who met on the set of Wuthering Heights, enjoyed a tour of the hospice and met with 11-year-old patient Bethany Weatherill while in the region for a family Christmas.

Miss Riley, 31, who was born in Grindon, near Stockton and stars with Tom Cruise in the upcoming movie Edge of Tomorrow, said: "It must be really difficult for the families of the people and children who stay at the Hospice as they are all seriously ill, but they must take some consolation from the fact the all the staff are always really happy, friendly and devoted.

"People often take hospices for granted so it was the least that we could do to come visit the centre and see for ourselves what it offers for its patients."

The glamorous couple were more than happy to spend time chatting and having their photographs taken and were both impressed with the commitment and devotion of the staff.

Mr Hardy said: "I had no idea what facilities were available at the Hospice so it was fantastic to come and visit. The work they do is amazing and we just wanted to come and give a little back to them all.

"I did the expedition in Siberia with Charlotte's uncle, Peter, and it is inspiring to see the work the staff do all year round. I think anything that can raise awareness of hospices around the country is really worthwhile as they help and support families when they need it the most and that is invaluable to them."

During the visit, they were shown the sensory room, pool facilities and care rooms.

Miss Riley said: "The sensory room was amazing, it seemed so relaxing and you could see what joy people would get out of it."

Hospice chief executive Graham Leggatt-Chidgey was delighted that the couple took time out of their festive holiday to visit.

He said: "It was really good of them to visit and to see what we do here. The way they spent so much time with the staff and children was fantastic - they brought a smile to everybody's face.

"What a lovely couple they are and we were delighted they enjoyed the tour around the hospice."

For more details on Butterwick Hospice and the work it does visit www.butterwick.org.uk or follow on Twitter @Butterwickhos