A FORMER Darlington footballer and retired businessman has raised thousands of pounds for charity after hosting a golf day fundraiser.

Ian Larnach presented St Cuthbert’s Hospice with a cheque for £2,600 following the event at Bishop Auckland Golf Club.

Mr Larnach began fundraising for local cancer charities and health services after being diagnosed with cancer seven years ago.

He said: “After being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2011, not long after my 60th birthday, I was lying in my hospital bed thinking about how outstanding the care I had received was. It was then that I just started to think about how I could give something back.”

Mr Larnach, from Spennymoor, set himself the challenge of raising £5,000 every year to donate to local charities and health services.

“It’s a way of raising awareness for wonderful local charities and saying thank you for the care and treatment I have received, and to help others to receive the same amazing care that I did," he said. "Places like St Cuthbert’s look after their patients like rockstars.”

The golf day which included dinner, raffles and auctions took place on July 6.

Mr Larnach added: “We had 23 teams of three golfers with each team matched to an ex-professional footballer or cricket player. I was assisted by my old friend George Courtney MBE – retired Premier League, FIFA and World Cup referee. Unfortunately I was unable to make the day myself as I was hospitalised. I am currently undergoing chemotherapy and just take each day as it comes. The team rallied round in my absence and made the day a real success.”

Jade McArdle, senior community and events fundraiser at St Cuthbert’s, said: “We’re so grateful to Ian for this kind donation. The money raised from the golf day is enough to fund a whole twenty four hours of care. It really will help to make every day count.”

The hospice is looking for teams to sign up to their annual golf day at Ramside Hall's championship course on September 7.

Tickets cost £300 for a team of four players with all proceeds going to the charity. Registration is from 9am. For more information visit stcuthbertshospice.com or call 0191-3861170.