A fund is being set up to help people convalescing.

The £700,000 fund, which will be launched today, was formed with the proceeds from the sale of the former Ropner Convalescent Home at Middleton St George, near Darlington.

The home was established in 1897 by Robert and Mary Anne Ropner to mark the 60th year of Queen Victoria's reign. It closed in 1999, and when it was sold the money established the John T Shuttleworth Ropner Memorial Fund, named after the long-serving chairman of the home's trustees.

The fund will be managed by the County Durham Foundation and will be used to help ill, elderly or disabled people in need of a break.