THE generous North spirit shone through yesterday, as thousands of fundraisers in the region rallied round to help brighten the lives of millions of deprived people around the world.

Fundraising stunts ranged from the ridiculous to the remarkable, as the region's people proved they would go to any lengths to raise money for Comic Relief.

At schools, businesses, shops and restaurants, workers and pupils donned red noses and dug deep in their pockets to raise thousands of pounds, to join fellow fundraisers around the country in saying Pants to poverty.

In County Durham, pupils at Hurworth Comprehensive School, near Darlington, took part in a spot of cross-dressing to raise funds, with the school collecting about £500.

Teacher John Morris said: "It has been a very strange day, watching some pupils wearing women's clothing and staff dressed in daft gear, but it has certainly been worth it, and great fun."

At Skerne Park Primary School, in Darlington, the children were sponsored to designed their own underpants, and raised a total of more than £400.

Headteacher Diana Teasdale said: "The school has been covered in pants of all shapes and sizes all day - it's been very weird.

"However, the children have been very involved."

Elsewhere in the region, pupils designed pants to mark the day, while others dressed all in red.

Staff at disposable respirator manufacturers 3M, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, whipped their razors out to raise cash.

Employees held a series of sponsored events, including head shaves, moustache shaves and leg waxing sessions, while some workers dressed up in fancy dress.

Receptionist Rita Hall said: "There have been some pretty hairy men getting their legs waxed and moustaches shaved, which is a tremendous thing to do.

"Almost everyone has been involved and we have managed to raise almost £3,000 for Comic Relief, which is fantastic."

Fundraising efforts around the country were expected to total millions of pounds for the charity