Geordie actor Tim Healy's winnings from Celebrity Catchphrase could save lives on the streets of Newcastle this winter.

That's the view of the founder of a charity theAuf Wiedersehen Pet star is donating his winnings to.

Tim, from Benwell in Newcastle's West End, became a patron of North East Homeless (NEH), last year.

And earlier this month the star took part in ITV's Celebrity Catchphrase on behalf of the charity, which which provides hot meals help and support to rough sleepers in Newcastle.

Tim beat off competition from Coronation Street actress Alexandra Mardell and reality television star Mark Wright to win the game show.

The £2,100 prize money has now been donated to NEH, which was set-up by Brian Burridge, from Wallsend.

 

And today Brian has told the Chronicle how the money will make a huge difference to Newcastle's homeless.

The 46-year-old said: "This money means everything to us. It will keep us going through the winter.

"It's getting cold now and people will die over the winter if it's as bad as last year. The numbers of homeless just seem to be going up and up and up.

"And it's not just the homeless we are helping now, it's people that might have somewhere to stay but can't afford to put food in their bellies."

 

NEH was born after Brian made a Facebook appeal for blankets in 2014.

Gradually volunteers got on board and they now provide hot meals and help three nights a week.

Brian Burridge of NEH

NEH was granted charity status in 2016 and now has an army of more than 250 generous volunteers who gather donations and distribute food, clothing and blankets to those in need.

The charity offers three weekly outreach sessions - a mobile service in Sunderland on Tuesday evenings, and gatherings near Grey's Monument in Newcastle on Thursday and Sunday.

 

When he became a patron of NEH last year Tim, who is also known for his role in Benidorm, said: "I am truly honored to be helping such a worthy cause, and when I was able to see what NEH was doing to help the homeless then I had no doubt it was the right thing to do.

“I will for sure get involved with them and if my name can help them grow and consequently help those in desperate need I will be more than happy. I already have thoughts on how I will actively help and help the organisation grow.

“We have now entered the period when the going gets a damn sight tougher for many and nothing hits harder than seeing people out on the street.

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“We can walk away and pretend we don’t really see some of the unfortunate sights we witness – but as human beings it lodges in our brain and it reverberates."

And Brian said having Geordie television royalty on their side was already making a big difference to NEH.

He added: "It's brilliant having Tim involved. Sometimes even just a tweet from him will help, someone will see it and offer something like 50 pairs of gloves."