DEREK Mathewson of television's hit series Bangers and Cash was the surprise guest auctioneer at the annual War of the Roses weekend wagon run.

Derek, whose family classic car auction business has been the subject of eight television series, agreed to go along to the evening event at the Coniston Hotel, Coniston Cold, after being asked out of the blue by run-organiser Robert Wellock, from Otterburn.

The Saturday run started from Coniston Cold and went to Pickering via Harrogate and Ripon, and back again with an evening do at the Coniston Hotel.

And at Thornton-le-Dale where the wagons had parked up in the national park authority car park, Mr Wellock got chatting to Derek, where his business is based and who had been watching the wagons as they arrived. Mr Wellock said: "I got talking to him and said how I wanted him to do the raffle, and he said he'd come out, no problem. I was astounded. It was about 120 miles for him."

Derek went along to the evening event at the Coniston Hotel with the raffle of donated items, including model wagons and hand carved walking sticks, turning into an auction, raising £2,400 towards the weekend total of £3,00 for the British Heart Foundation. Money was also raised from the sale of photographs taken by Nigel Scaife, of Settle.

More than 70 wagons and drivers from across the country, including from from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Southern, South Western England and everywhere in between took part in the recent fourth annual War of the Roses weekend event organised by Mr Wellock.

On the Sunday, there was another run to Lancaster where James Dennison of Dennison Trailers opened up his factory for a special tour of the very latest in tippers and drawbar trailers including the innovative 'sliding bogie'. More than 60 trucks with around 100 people enjoyed a tour round the factory, followed by refreshments, and then back to the Coniston Hotel for Sunday lunch.

In a letter to Mr Wellock, Chrish Perera, acting director of corporate and community fundraising, said: "We're incredibly grateful for the money you have raised which will help save lives and pioneer research programmes into heart disease, stroke, vascular dementia and the risk factors that cause them, like diabetes. We can't thank you enough for supporting the British Heart Foundation."

Plans are now already well underway for next year's event.