A BAND of volunteers who stepped up to run a town's Poppy Appeal has revealed the staggering amount raised this year.

When the Royal British Legion feared it would have nobody to run its annual campaign in the Bishop Auckland area long-term, a plea for help was issued through The Northern Echo in 2016.

Around 40 volunteers, many of them having just completed a season with Eleven Arches' show Kynren, came forward to help.

This year the team raised £52,041– with a few collections tins still to add to the total– which is around £11,000 more than in 2017.

Ann Williams-Maughan, who with with Valerie Armstrong and Andrea Nichol coordinates the appeal, said: "We jokingly said the the Poppy Appeal is what we could do with our time after Kynren, and lots of people put their name forward. We didn't want to think the town wouldn't be part of the Poppy Appeal."

Working with members of the Legion, volunteers sell charity poppy items from Evenwood down to Bishop Auckland. They manned supermarkets in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday and distributed collection tins to schools, shops, pubs, care homes and other businesses before gathering them up and counting the donations.

Mrs Williams-Maughan said: "It is hard work, we start in January and the volunteers put a lot of effort in but we feel fabulous that Bishop is able to contribute to the Appeal."

To help email poppyappealbishopauckland@gmail.com