STAFF from the Consett branch of the North-East’s biggest building society did their own Tour de France without leaving the office.

The Newcastle Building Society workers joined colleagues from 19 other branches and two main offices to try to cover the full distance of the famous race on exercise bikes.

The day-long ride took place at the society's office in Middle Street, Consett, with the local team members covering an impressive 170km between them.

Loading article content

The total distance covered by all teams was 4,119km, which is well in excess of their 3,656km target.

Their efforts meant that more than £4,000 was raised in total across the branch network.

The Newcastle’s Tour De Branch Challenge was set up as part of the society’s ongoing Cornerstone of the Community campaign, through which individual branches provide support to organisations and good causes in their areas.

These include a wide range of community charities, hospices, schools and voluntary organisations.

The Consett branch team was cycling to raise money for the Willow Burn Hospice, near Lanchester, which provides care for people with life-limiting conditions in the Derwentside area.

The hospice is fund-raising to build new facilities and also has to continually fund-raise to meet its running costs.

Consett branch manager Rachael Benford said: “Covering our target distance on a warm summer's day wasn't easy, but we had lots of support from visiting customers and colleagues, and we're really pleased with what we achieved.

“Contributing to the communities in which we’re located is central to the way in which the society operates, and the money we raised on the day will enhance the support we're providing this year for Willow Burn.”