Two County Durham charities have received a boost of almost £14,500 thanks to the fundraising efforts of the civic head of a north east council.

The funds, raised by Cllr Katie Corrigan, in her roles as Durham County Council Chairman and Mayor of Durham City, will be split between Age UK County Durham, which supports older people, and the Cheesy Waffles Project, which offers support to children, young people and adults who have additional needs.

Cllr Corrigan, with help from her community and council colleagues, raised the money through a range of events and activities throughout her term as Chairman and Mayor.

Examples included a sponsored cycle ride of more than 500 miles through England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic and Wales, by fellow councillor Peter Brookes and his four team mates; a huge Christmas coffee morning at Durham Town Hall, hosted by volunteers from both charities, councillors and council staff; and a personal running challenge which saw Cllr Corrigan raise £2,000 by completing 100k in daily runs throughout August.

Council staff and elected members supported the worthy causes with a bake sale at County Hall; by paying to wear their festive threads on a Christmas Jumper Day; by opting to donate directly from their monthly pay in a Pennies from Heaven scheme; and via office collection tins.

Cllr Corrigan said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has made a donation or held a fundraising activity to support my chosen charities. I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of individuals and organisations, who have given not only their money, but their support and time to help me achieve this fantastic total. In particular, I’d like to express my gratitude to Durham Rotary Club Swimathon, Durham City Freemen and parish councils across the county, who have made some of the largest donations.

“Age UK County Durham and Cheesy Waffles do amazing work and every amount donated, from small change to hundreds of pounds has been gratefully received and will make a huge difference to people’s lives across County Durham.”

Normally, a new Durham County Council Chairman is elected by the council each May and serves for 12 months. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual council meeting has not been held and Cllr Corrigan continues as Chairman. She has chosen now to begin to raise money for the chosen charity of the Vice Chairman, Cllr Ossie Johnson, the Fire Fighters Charity.