Leading Teesside companies including Nortech, Middlesbrough FC, AV Dawson and Chemoxy combined to present charity cheques worth £20,000.
But it was comedian Jason Manford who inspired the top prize for a project dedicated to supporting teenage cancer sufferers.
Butterfly Giving received nearly half of the 33,000 votes cast to easily top Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s £20,000 Golden Giveaway poll to seal a £5,000 prize ahead of 14 other local community projects, charities and schools.
The result followed a late surge in support for the charity after its founder, 20-year-old student Hannah Larkin, asked Manford for his support, resulting in him asking his social media followers – totalling well over ONE MILLION – to vote for Butterfly Giving.
Hannah – pictured (above) with foundation chairman Andy Preston (centre) and Stephen Downey of foundation patrons PASS – said: “Contacting Jason was a last shot in the hope of getting some publicity, even if it won us just 20 more votes. I couldn’t believe the reaction.
“Thousands of votes poured in overnight and I received some lovely comments from his social media followers.”
The money will go towards “Boxes of Sunshine”, packed full of goodies to bring a little cheer to teenagers affected by a cancer diagnosis.
The rest of the Golden Giveaway cashpot has been shared between charities and community projects across Redcar, Stockton, Middlesbrough, Ingleby Barwick and East Cleveland.
A special Golden Giveaway presentation event at the Middlesbrough College STEM Centre saw Hannah receive the £5,000 cheque from Stephen Downing of Stockton company PASS, of Stockton.
The Foundation’s patrons also made the following presentations:
• Remembering Rebecca – Joanne Fryett of Middlesbrough Football Club presented £2,500 for trips out for the siblings of disabled children with life-limiting conditions.
• Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team – Emily Bentley of Evolution Business and Tax Advisors presented £2,000 for new casualty care equipment for the volunteer team.
• Grangetown Netball – Jayne Stephenson presented £1,500 for kit and equipment for club featuring 200 players and coaches.
• Swift-Tees – Alisdair Beveridge presented £1,500 for leadership and coach training for running club with more than 200 members.
• Scoil Rince I Muir – Elaine Bunn of Nortech Group presented £1,000 towards costumes and shoes for Irish dancers in Thornaby and Coulby Newham.
• Rosebrook Primary School ASD Hub – Foundation chairman Andy Preston presented £1,000 for outdoor play equipment for children with autism.
• The Junction Foundation – Nigel Willis of First Choice Labels presented £1,000 for activities for young carers across Middlesbrough and Redcar.
• North Ormesby Over-50s Club – Ian Stark presented £750 for trips out for the young at heart.
• JUST (Juggling & Unicycling Stockton-on-Tees) – Keith Miller of Ecco Finishing Supplies presented £750 towards teaching amazing circus skills to local people.
• St Joseph’s Primary Academy – Nigel Willis of First Choice Labels presented £750 for healthy eating cookery classes for Loftus pupils and parents.
• Stamp Revisited – David Carter of Carter Steel presented £750 towards training volunteer advocates to support those recovering from mental health, alcohol or other issues.
• Kinship Carers Middlesbrough – David Carter of Carter Steel Ltd presented £500 towards a Butlins holiday for 30 children and grandparents who care for them.
• Ladies of Steel – Gary Dawson of AV Dawson presented £500 for day trip and youth club equipment for Dormanstown kids.
• Route 2 My Sisters Place – Elaine Bunn of Nortech Group presented £500 to work with men who have been the perpetrators of domestic violence.