FIVE fit finance specialists from a Chester firm recently lined up with soap stars and Olympic champions at one of the North's highest-profile sporting events.

The fleet-footed five, all staff members of ACF Car Finance, were taking part in the celebrity-studded annual 10k Bupa Great Manchester Run.

And when they crossed the finishing line, their efforts had run up almost £1,000 for the motor industry charity BEN, thanks to sponsorship from friends and colleagues.

However, as they found when they returned to their desks after the event, their fundraising achievements were not yet over.

For as well as offering congratulations, the directors of the Chester business park company said they would be doubling to £2,000 the cash the runners had collected.

Staff taking part in the event were picked from the near-200 employees who hoped to participate, and their entry fees were paid for by the company.

The Bupa Great Manchester Run attracted thousands of entries this year, including runners from the casts of Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale, and Waterloo Road.

The five ACF Car Finance competitors also found themselves running alongside sporting stars, including medallists from last year's London Olympics.

The £2,000 they raised will be handed over shortly to BEN which supports past and present members of the automotive industry who suffer a personal crisis.

ACF Car Finance, which specialises in arranging motor finance, was last year presented with a special award by BEN for its consistent and imaginative fundraising efforts.

The company also annually adopts a local charity to support and is this year raising funds and providing volunteers for North Clwyd Animal Rescue.

Taking part in the run from ACF Car Finance were Katy Arkell, Richard Barlow, Daniel Drazdauskas, Lorna Rossi and Josephine Shaw