Shoppers across the region have helped raise over £21,000 for a South Tyneside trust created as a lasting legacy to Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry.
More than 20 Co-Op food stores have been holding collections since last year for the charity, which provides support to aspiring young performers and sportspeople through the use of bursaries.
A cheque for £3,769 was presented to Chloe’s dad Mark taking the total amount donated to date to £21,659 - a figure which has surpassed the amount staff had hoped to raise.
The money was raised through a series of bike rides, bake and cake sales, walks, raffles and dressing up days.
The stores got behind the fundraising drive after being touched by the deaths of the teenagers, described as “perfect for each other” at the Manchester Arena bomb attack, last May.
Read More: Trust granted charity status
As an Area Team we wanted to find some way of showing that people cared.Michael Boucher
Since then, their parents have been helping to support young performers and sportspeople to follow their dreams through the Trust they have created in their name.
Chloe, 17, was a gifted performer while Liam, 19, was a talented cricketer.
Michael Boucher, Co-op area manager, said: “Colleagues, members and customers in our communities were devastated by news of the loss of Chloe and Liam.
“As an Area Team we wanted to find some way of showing that people cared, and were thinking of Chloe, Liam and, their family and friends.
“Raising money and awareness for the Trust not only honours their memory, but supports the trust’s incredible work to inspire and support others, giving other young people life changing opportunities to fulfill their hopes and dreams – something that Chloe and Liam were tragically unable to do themselves.
“I am immensely proud of my team, who have completed a range of activities throughout 2018, some collective and individual achievements that has led us to raise this fantastic amount for the Trust. “Our fundraising continues until the end of the year, and I would like to thank everyone who has donated money or played a part - every donation, no matter how small, has added up to make a difference.”
Meanwhile, Ice Print in Fowler Street, South Shields, will be holding a night dedicated to the charity on Thursday.
People will be able to call in and find out more about the Trust and who it has helped to date as well as the range of merchandise on offer.
The event will start at 6pm.