Businesses are throwing their weight behind a charity golf day which will tee-off this summer in a bid to raise cash for the region's youth. Newcastle Building Society has signed up to take a team to the inaugural Prince's Trust Challenge Trophy celebrity amateur golf event - and is urging other businesses to do the same.
The prestigious event will pit teams representing the Duke of Northumberland against the Earl of Durham to raise funds to help 5,000 youngsters in the North-East by the end of 2008.
The golfing day, where paying members of the public get the chance to play alongside the likes of BBC sports presenter Jeff Brown, Geordie actor Tim Healy and Metro FM presenters Tony Horne and Mark Thorburn, is one of a number of sporting battles between teams representing the north and south of the region.
Steven Marks, lending and operations executive at Newcastle Building Society, said: "The golf is just one part of a series of sporting events and we just think it's fantastic profile to be associated with it.
"We do business with lots of other companies in the region, so playing golf with celebrities and the dinner at night provides us with a great opportunity to entertain key clients.
"At Newcastle, we support the Prince's Trust in a couple of different ways.
"Some of our senior managers act as business mentors and we also support them financially because, as a major employer, we think it's important to get educated young people coming through."
The golf event is one of a number, including football, cricket and clay pigeon shooting, that will be held over the coming months for the trophy. It is sponsored by The Journal, Evening Gazette, Esh Group, Dickinson Dees, Northern Rock, Stratstone, JJB, Emap and ITV.
The celebrity golf day is expected to involve 80 players playing over 18 holes at Slaley Hall, Northumberland, on July 5.
Of these, 42 will be paying guests at £500 per head. Three players will play from each of the Challenge Trophy sponsors and the remaining players will be celebrities.
David Beavis, regional director for The Prince's Trust, said: "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play golf with some very high profile celebrities while contributing towards a great cause.
"All profits made will go towards the work The Prince's Trust does with disadvantaged young people living in the North-East."
Among other star names already confirmed are Newcastle legends Alan Shearer and Peter Beardsley, World Cup winner Jack Charlton and Sunderland favourite Kevin Ball. Olympic long-jump gold medallist Jonathan Edwards is coach of the Duke's team while Steve Cram will be coaching the Earl's across all four events.
Teams do battle for pride of county
Twenty four-ball matches will play four-ball better ball matchplay over 18 holes of the Hunting Course, Slaley Hall, Northumberland.
The 80 players will be made up of 42 players, paying £500 per head, three players from each of the six tier one sponsors (18 in total), and 20 celebrities (one in each four ball).
There will be 40 players representing the Duke of Northumberland and 40 players representing the Earl of Durham.
Handicap will be a maximum of 24 for the men and 30 for the ladies.
Handicap allowance: four-ball better ball matchplay. Back marker (lowest handicap) to concede strokes to the other three players based on 3/4 of the difference between the full handicaps.
Men will play off the white tees and ladies off the red tees.
All competitors must have a caddy (caddies to carry clubs or use of electric trolleys or pull type would be permitted).
There will be a caddies' briefing, on the morning of the event to cover the basic dos and don'ts and etiquette.
Details of the charity event
The event will take place at Slaley Hall, Northumberland, over one full day.
Tea, coffee and bacon rolls will be available on arrival.
Following the 18-hole event, a presentation dinner and charity auction will be held in the evening.
The charge is £500 per player.
For more details contact Julie Moorhouse, event manager at ncjMedia, on (0191) 201- 6119, or email firstname.lastname@example.org