Spectacular signings

Four major North firms have signed up to sponsor a charity sports spectacular pitting the Duke of Northumberland against Lord Durham.

Four major North firms have signed up to sponsor a charity sports spectacular pitting the Duke of Northumberland against Lord Durham.

The two men will be in charge of teams representing the north and south of the region in the Prince's Trust Challenge Trophy, launched this week in Newcastle.

Two celebrity teams, coached by Jonathan Edwards for the Duke and Steve Cram for the Earl, will battle it out in football, cricket, golf and clay pigeon shooting.

Among the other star names already confirmed are Newcastle legends Alan Shearer and Peter Beardsley, World Cup winner Jack Charlton, Sunderland favourite Kevin Ball, professional golfers Ken Ferrie and Graeme Storm, and actor Tim Healey.

It is hoped the events will raise enough cash for the Prince's Trust to help 5,000 youngsters in the North-East by the end of 2008.

As well as a kit sponsorship deal with sports giants JJB, there are sponsorship deals with construction firm the Esh Group, financial giants Northern Rock, car dealer Stratstone and law firm Dickinson Dees.

Robin Bloom, the senior partner of Newcastle-based law firm Dickinson Dees, said: "We are delighted to be supporting The Prince's Trust Challenge Trophy.

"Doing so gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the community in which we work."

Brian Manning, chief executive of the Esh Group, said: "Young people are the future of the North-East and what better way to support the vital work of the Prince's Trust in our region than to support the Challenge Trophy?"

Mike Allan, dealer principle for Aston Martin at Stratstone, said: "We are delighted to be associated with what we believe will be the most high profile series of sporting events to happen in the region this year. The fact that they will raise money for young people right here in the North-East is reason enough for everyone to get involved."

Chris Jobe, Northern Rock's North-East director, said: "As a company whose name is synonymous with the support of top quality sport... Northern Rock is delighted to be associated with the Prince's Trust Challenge Trophy and we wish it well."

The event has also secured media support deals with The Journal's parent company NCJ Media, ITV Tyne Tees and Emap Radio.

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Stuart Rayner
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