BUILDING society staff in north Durham have pedalled their way to the end of a long-distance charity bike ride without ever leaving home turf.

The Consett office of Newcastle Building Society joined colleagues from 19 other branches and two head offices to cover the full distance of the Tour de France on exercise bikes.

The day-long ride took place at the Middle Street office last month with the local team covering 170km between them.

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The Newcastle’s ‘Tour de Branch’ Challenge has been set up as part of its ongoing ‘Cornerstone of the Community’ campaign, in which individual branches support organisations and good causes in their area.

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 Hospice.”

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