A COUNTRY music and dancing enthusiast who raised thousands of pounds for charity continues to inspire fundraising efforts after her death.

Val Meads, who died on February 25, aged 68, was well known on the region’s country and western and line dancing scene for almost two decades.

She was a founder member of Simply the West country music club and line dancing class, in West Auckland, and was involved in running weekend festivals and events across County Durham.

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When her husband Geoff died she and their family raised money for an asthma charity in his memory.

After she was diagnosed with lung cancer she and line dancing groups, where she had many friends, supported organisations including the Mara Unit at Bishop Auckland Hospital, Auckland Medical Group in St Helen Auckland and Macmillan Cancer Care.

Mrs Meads, of St Helen Auckland, near Bishop Auckland, worked as a carer for adults with disabilities and was a keen traveller who enjoyed country music festivals across the UK and exotic holidays.

She is survived by daughters Amanda Hirst, Susan Sams and Lynsey Stephenson, their partners and seven grandchildren and her partner, Edward Fodden.

Mrs Sams said: “She was very popular, loved socialising and liked to be kept busy.

“It was very important to her to be able to raise money for charities that she cared about and lots of the clubs she was involved in have collected in her memory and as a family we will do more.”

Brian Stothard, who with wife Ann and friends Lilian and Peter Russell organised Simply the West with Mrs Meads, said she touched the lives of many people whose lives are richer for knowing her.