Openreach engineers in Northumberland have upgraded a rural charity's broadband speed.

The Pennines Wildlife & Rescue Sanctuary had been wrangling with slow internet after relocating to a remote location near Carrshield in the Pennines foothills.

Unsuccessful attempts to better the copper infrastructure resulted in the Openreach chief engineers team recognising the need for full fibre broadband.

Hexham Courant: A blind owl

Tony Johnson, founder of the charity, is ex-armed forces who suffers from PTSD. Living and working in such a remote location helps him to manage his condition while helping animals and supporting wildlife.

He said: "This technology for us is lifechanging – that’s no exaggeration.

"Before the upgrade we would have to drive to the nearest 5G mast to look up things on our mobiles and it was quicker to drive to the nearest town (Hexham) 45 minutes away than attempt to download a file here."

He added that the faster broadband service would help improve the charity’s online visibility, thus boosting donations.

Hexham Courant: A hedgehog

He said: "Most importantly though we can now instantly research care methods for different species of animals we rescue immediately without needing to leave the sanctuary.

"This is a game changer for the care we provide."

Close to 80 other homes and businesses also gained from the process that saw the installation of over eight kilometres of fibre optic cable, mostly worked on during the winter.

The project also had help from Openreach's Northumberland Fibre Build manager Micheal Sowiak and his team, who leveraged the latest technology to limit roadworks, and reduce residents' disturbance.

Mr Sowiak said: "My team thrives on the challenges of working in one of the most rural corners of the UK but even by their standards this build was a huge task."

“The entire team is genuinely happy we’ve been able to make it happen for Tony, Ute and the sanctuary.

Hexham Courant: A pig

"As locations go this is about as rural as it gets in Northumberland so it’s a great achievement to get there, with the added bonus of upgrading nearly 80 other homes and businesses along the way."

The sanctuary supports local wildlife and partners with RSPB to enhance native bird populations.