THE chief executive of a building society has improved a charity's bank balance by taking part in the London Marathon.

Peter Rowley, chief executive of Darlington Building Society, handed over £26,600 to Help the Hospices, a national charity that aids four hospices in the North-East.

Mr Rowley raised £13,300 in sponsorship by running the April marathon, an amount that was matched by the Tubney Charitable Trust.

Chris Shaw, deputy chief executive of Help the Hospices, said: "I am most grateful to Peter for spending some time with us and presenting such a magnificent cheque.

"A superb effort - donations of this magnitude really make a difference. Peter can be really proud of his achievement."

Mr Rowley said: "It is gratifying to know that the money I have raised is going to such a great cause - carers of those coping with terminal illnesses need help and support too. I am really pleased that I have, with the help of many others, helped the hospices to help them."