Daley Thompson, the Olympic legend, was in Durham yesterday to put staff from local businesses through their paces at a health and fitness day, as part of his support for North East international children’s charity, Comrades of Children Overseas (COCO).

The double Olympic decathlon gold medallist, joined staff from Gateshead-based HR and payroll company Cintra and fellow Tyneside firm Prospect Engine for a fitness session at Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa. He led a workout and offered fitness advice with the aim of improving health in the workplace.

Thompson, a friend of fellow Olympian Steve Cram who is one of COCO’s founders, donated a day of his time as an auction prize at the 2018 COCO Golf Day, while Ramside Hall donated access to their fitness suite along with lunch and spa access.

Cintra were the recipients of the prize but chose to donate part of it to the COCO Ball, so they shared the experience with staff from Prospect Engine and their clients. The winners also received a year’s supply of protein drinks and bars.

Thompson, who will also be at today’s Coco Golf Day at Slaley Hall in Northumberland, said: “Me and Steve go back a long way – right back to our days as junior athletes. I’m here for the fitness sessions and gives me the chance to spend time in the area with Steve.

“If I have any kind of personal training skill, I can usually find the level most people are at. If I’ve a group of people who I’ve never met before I can usually see who is the fittest, closest to the edge and get them to the edge without pushing them over. Five press ups for one, 50 for another and we have to make it fun – that’s what it’s all about.’’

COCO was co-founded by Steve Cram and British Army Major Jim Panton in 2000. The charity works with communities in remote regions of the developing world that provide children with access to the education that is essential for a good start in life, investing in small, sustainable, community led initiatives that can make a big difference at a local level.

visit www.coco.org.uk, find the charity on Facebook or follow @COCO_Charity on Twitter.