STAFF from the Darlington branch of a North East building society have successfully pedalled their way to the end of a long-distance charity bike ride without ever leaving home turf.

The Newcastle Building Society branch staff joined colleagues from 19 other society branches and two head offices to try to cover the full distance of the Tour De France on exercise bikes.

The day-long ride took place at the society's Skinnergate office, with the local team covering 205km between them.

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The total distance covered by all the NBS teams was 4,119km, which was well in excess of their 3,656km target. More than £4,000 has been raised across the branch network as a whole.

The challenge was set up as part of its Cornerstone of the Community campaign, through which individual branches provide support to organisations and good causes in their local areas.

The Darlington branch team was cycling to raise money for the town's St Teresa's Hospice.

Branch manager Gemma Leighton 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 St Teresa's.”