Rudolph and co will be brightening up homes and gardens this Christmas – thanks to Durham County Council.

Butterwick Hospice at Bishop Auckland was struggling to find the logs it needs to make the miniature wooden Reindeer it sells each festive season to raise much needed funds.

Aware of recent tree work carried out by the council in the area, the hospice wrote to the authority’s chief executive Terry Collins asking if it could donate some logs.

Taking up the story, Terry said: “We always try to help when charitable organisations come to us for help and we are aware of the really important work the hospice does in supporting those with life limiting illnesses and their families.

“So when we got the letter asking if we could donate some logs, we were only too happy to help.”

The reindeer are made by retired Bishop Auckland resident Ian Clark, who has volunteered at the hospice for the last ten years. He started making them three years ago.

In a letter to Terry, his wife Dorothy, who also volunteers at the site, wrote: “I write to call upon your generosity on behalf of Butterwick Hospice, Bishop Auckland.

“My husband and I make reindeer to sell to our supporters in the Christmas period to help raise money for our hospice.

“As we are finding it difficult finding the logs which we need, I wondered if we may ask to have some from the recent ‘tree felling’ please.

“We would really appreciate this… yours respectfully and hopefully.”

Ian said: “There are so many people in need of the kind of support provided by the hospice these days and that is why it is so important that funds are raised to allow it to continue its good work.

“I’m really grateful to the council for donating the logs and in turn helping the hospice.”

Helen Kirby, fundraiser at the hospice, said: “Ian and Dorothy are very dedicated volunteers who help us on a regular basis with projects and events.

“Everyone seems to love the reindeers and we’d like to thank both the Clarks and the council for what they’ve done for us.”

Terry added: “It’s great that Ian is willing to give up his time for what is a truly excellent cause and we hope the reindeer will add an extra touch of festive cheer to people’s Christmases.”

The reindeers have proved so popular that they have sold out. However orders can be placed for Christmas 2018 by contacting the hospice’s fundraising team on 01388 603003