STUDENTS and staff joined forces with veterans to raise more than £500 for an ex-servicemen’s charity in a five hour sponsored walk.

Uniformed Public Services students at Bishop Auckland College organised the walk in place of an annual coffee morning, lunch and Remembrance service which has been held for veterans for the past four years, but could not go ahead due to the ongoing lockdown.

It was inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, 100, who walked 100 laps of his garden to raise £1,000 for the NHS but reached around £39m.

Students, staff, and guests taking part in tandem kept the walk going from 10am until 3pm, with some completing up to 22 laps of the college grounds – around five miles.

Sponsorship and funds from a raffle raised £300 on the day, alongside £222 donated via a Go Fund Me page, for the Wear Valley and Teesdale Division of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association.

The charity, which was launched in 1885, provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans of the British Armed Forces and their families or dependents.

Public Services tutor Sharron Hogarth said: “All funds raised this year will go to the Wear Valley Division of SSAFA (Durham branch) towards its isolation fund to support vulnerable veterans who may be shielding, living on their own or couples unable to leave their homes.

“We would like to thank all that supported us; we raised a brilliant amount and contributions are still coming in, so it was a huge success.”

SSAFA support for local veterans has included the delivery of food parcels and telephone calls for those who are finding themselves isolated during the lockdown.

Mike Donne, County Durham Branch President of the SSAFA, added: “It is a real pleasure to work so closely with the college. Over the years the students and staff have been excellent at raising funds and this intergenerational experience is a great boost to our members.”