THE best fork lift truck drivers in the region are to gather next month to test their skills.

The North-East heat of the Champion of Champions contest for the drivers, to be held in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, is expected to attract up to 80 entrants.

Fork lift truck supplier Lansing Linde Castle, on Aycliffe Industrial Park, is hosting the event on Saturday, September 16, which also includes fundraising activities for the NSPCC.

Organiser Shirley Foster said: "The drivers undergo a 15-minute theory test and then undergo a practical test which is marked on accuracy, although there is a speed element.

"The competition is to promote health and safety in the work environment."

The top three in each section will go to the national final in Basingstoke, in November.

The regional heat winners get £200, with £150 for second place and £100 for third.

The national champion wins a Vauxhall Astra, with £1,500 for the manager of his or her company.

For entry details, contact Shirley Foster or Kirsty Macmillan on (01325) 311526