CARING staff at a North-East engineering company have made sure four of their favourite good causes started 2017 on a high.

Management of Axiom Engineering Associates, in Stockton, offered to make a generous cash donation to charities and good causes instead of sending Christmas cards.

Company director Dr René Hoyle said: “The money we saved by sending email greetings instead of old-fashioned cards was banked and we asked staff to nominate their favourite causes.”

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The charities this year were the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust, the first national support group for patients with thyroid cancer.

The trust was founded in 2001 by Kate Farnell, a North-East patient who wanted to help fellow sufferers, and now counts the Duke of Northumberland among its patrons.

There are more than 2,100 patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the UK every year. The nomination came from a member of Axiom’s staff whose daughter is recovering from the illness and received support from the trust.

Kate said: “During my first year of this disease I recognised there were a lot of things that could have made my journey with cancer better - things that needn’t cost a lot of money, like being given written information when I was diagnosed.

“The main thing was not being able to talk to anybody else.

“I had a meeting with the hospital management and they supported me which meant I could get a helpline in my office and a computer. We started from there and the word spread.

“We rely on kind donations such as this from Axiom for which we are very grateful to be able to carry on our essential work. Many thanks indeed.”

Other good causes benefitting from Axiom’s donations include the Catholic Handicapped Fellowship (Middlesbrough), the Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team and Zoe’s Place Children’s Hospice.

Zoe’s Place is a charity providing respite care for youngsters suffering from life-limiting or life-threatening conditions.

The charity operates hospices in Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Coventry.

Victoria Rogers, corporate and events fund raiser, said: “We are extremely grateful to Axiom for choosing us as one of the recipients for its Christmas card charity donations.

“The £500 donation will go directly to the care for our children 0-5 years old who all have life limiting illnesses and come to Zoe’s Place for respite care. We currently look after 35 families who access our clinical facilities on a regular basis.”

Dr Hoyle added: “It’s great to see the money going to organisations that do such valuable work in the North-East and North Yorkshire.”

The nomination for Cleveland Mountain Rescue came from Axiom director Rob Johnson who recently retired from the organisation after many years as a volunteer member and team leader.