Three local charities received an enormous Christmas surprise from Primula Cheese.

Kavli UK managing director Paul Lewney said: “Charity is at the heart of everything that Primula does and being able to deliver such an incredible Christmas surprise really makes all of the hard work worth it. We chose these charities because they will make a real difference to people living in the North East and we hope that the gifts help them to continue delivering their invaluable work.”

Staff from Primula’s North East office were asked to nominate local charities as beneficiaries of this year’s donations, with North East Hearts with Goals and Heel and Toe Children’s charity chosen.

Christine Stephenson and Kelly Best, founders of North East Hearts with Goals, were presented with a brand-new van, which will be kitted out with state-of-the-art defibrillator equipment and worth £60,000.

Thinking that they were there to pitch their charity message to Primula staff, the pair were ushered outside where they were presented with the van by Paul Lewney, Managing Director of Kavli UK; which owns Primula Cheese.

As well as being fitted with defibrillators, the van will contain screening equipment which will allow the charity to help spot the signs of heart disease and potentially save the lives of people from the region.

Heel and Toe Children’s Charity also received a surprise donation of £25,000 to fund a hydrotherapy pool at their new centre in County Durham. The state-of-the-art pool will help over 120 children from all across the North East who are living with disabilities or who are recovering from operations which require physiotherapy.

Meanwhile, the Alzheimer’s society were presented with a cheque for more than £15,000 which was raised by staff from Primula Cheese at the first annual Cheesy Ball in October this year. The event took place at the Newcastle Gateshead Marriott Hotel MetroCentre and was held in memory of former Primula warehouse manager Dean Elliott, who was a big supporter of the Alzheimer’s society and sadly passed away last year.