A NEWTON Aycliffe company has won a national charity award.

PWS’ Blood Sweat & Gears charity project, in aid of Help For Heroes, was crowned “Challenge Event Of The Year” at the national Business Charity Awards.

The fifth generation family business was commended for raising £314,000 with its inspiring project from a relatively small business – other nominations included Lloyds Banking Group, The Royal Mail and Wolseley Group

PWS, the kitchen design and distribution business, aimed to raise £250,000 to support Phoenix House, the Northern Help For Heroes Recovery Centre in Catterick.

Mark Stephenson, chief executive, led an endurance-cycling team of staff, friends and four veterans over 320 punishing miles of 22,000ft climbs across South Africa in April 2016.

He said: “I am so proud that the Blood Sweat & Gears’ challenge has been recognised as best in class. To stand out amongst large companies is something very special and is testament to the commitment and energy of everyone connected with the challenge.

“It was truly inspiring to witness the creativity and hard work put into this project by staff, suppliers and customers alike, all of whom played a role in its success. I extend my heartfelt thanks to them, as well as the truly Great British public, who embraced my ‘pie-in-the-sky’ idea and enabled us to walk away with this prestigious award.”

Michaela Slay, events project manager at Help For Heroes, said: “We are delighted that PWS’ incredible project has been recognised at a national level.

“Historically PWS’ donation of adapted kitchens has supported our beneficiaries’ long-term wellbeing, while their commitment to vocational training gives veterans a real focus for their move to civilian employment. “However, with their Blood Sweat & Gears’ challenge they have created amazing opportunities to support beneficiaries suffering with mental health issues, enabling us to change more veterans’ lives and, in some cases, save lives over the next three years.”

The money will fund three additional wellbeing advisors over three years for the charity’s psychological wellbeing program. The programme delivers early intervention mental health support for wounded, injured and sick veterans and their families.