A SWEET supplier who has developed a taste for supporting charities is hoping to raise a total of £1 million.

Businessman Stewart Bailey, 58, said he has already raised more than £562,000 for good causes, and has set himself the target of reaching the seven figure sum.

He started raising money for the British Heart Foundation 16 years ago when his mother, Lilian, died of heart disease, aged 68.

Shortly after, his eldest brother, John, died of cancer aged 42, which was closely followed by the death of his father, Jack, from cancer, aged 75.

Mr Bailey, who has two daughters, Laura, 27 and Harriet, 17, said: “It was very traumatic losing three family members in quick succession.

“When I started I just wanted to be able to give something back to the people that cared for them.

“But in the last five years, since I started my own business, the fundraising has really taken off.”

Mr Bailey, of Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, worked for Caterpillar at Peterlee for 33 years as a section manager before he took redundancy aged 50.

He runs Pig n Mix, supplying sweets and treats to hotels and events as well as offices.

He raises some of the money for charity by donating jars full of sweets. People then have to pay to guess how many there are to be in with a chance of winning.

Mr Bailey has also organised and taken part a range of events including charity golf days, sky dives and sponsored events such as walks, abseils, bungee jumps and football matches.

The father-of-two, said he is now actively supporting 118 charities.

Mr Bailey said: “I support them with monetary donations, organise events and donate prizes, which they make money from. When I started I did not have a milestone in mind. It was just for two charities.

“But I am starting to raise significant amounts because I have more corporate contacts and am doing it through my business. When I broke the half million mark I realised what a staggering amount it was.

“There is a diverse range of charities I support.

“I can never say ‘no’ so it would be wonderful to reach £1 million one day.”