The Gateway to the Durham Dales

A BBC FAVOURITE antique dealer has given his seal of approval to garden furniture made by homelessness charity Cornerstone’s furniture.
Alistair Donaldson who owns Antiques on The Green incorporating Molly’s Tearoom took delivery of garden furniture last month and praised the charity for its quality and the service he received.
The shed, gazebos and trellis were crafted by the charity’s staff and volunteers for the gardens of his Family-run business Antiques on The Green which regularly draws presenters of BBC television programme Antiques Road Trip to its West Auckland home.
The connoisseur of craft is no stranger to charitable trading, however.
BBC’s antiques experts Paul Laidlaw, Anita Manning, and Mark Stacey regularly visit Mr Donaldson’s treasure trove of furniture, clocks, vintage toys, military memorabilia, ornaments, pottery, and other objects to drive a hard bargain and squeeze a margin to help fund national charity Children in Need.
But Alistair showed he had an eye for quality new wooden items as well as those of past masters and hailed the team at Cornerstone.
“We were looking for inspiration and ideas for our yard and garden areas so we thought we’d work with a local charity,” the expert said.
“We called in to see Jeff and the team at Cornerstone [at their workshops] in Willington and they did everything we asked of them. “
“What we received was done to perfection. They are a great bunch of lads committed to their work.”
Cornerstone borrows heavily on its area’s historic values of working-class invention and commitment to lasting quality. Its first products were miners’ Cracket stools(still made by the charity )
Lamenting the lack of awareness of the value of the area’s historic importance, Alistair told Barnard Castle’s The Teesdale Mercury newspaper that he is worried West Auckland’s ‘rich in social history’ is missed by its residents.
In the article the respected dealer points to the village having the first World Cup-winning football team, it boasting the longest village green in Europe, it was home to the first George Stephenson iron bridge to use a lenticular truss design and the village was home to the infamous murderer Mary Ann Cotton.
He said: “It is steeped in history and local people seem to be scared of it.
“If this were London it would be quite an attraction.
“I think local people are a little bit frightened about it,” he added.
Cornerstone’s workshop manager, Jeff Malpas expressed appreciation to Mr Donaldson on behalf of the whole Cornerstone family.
“A big thank you to Alistair and his team for giving us this opportunity to be involved in this project! It’s been a pleasure and we will all be visiting Molly’s tea room on a regular basis,” he said.
Molly’s and Antiques On The Green is open seven days a week, from 10am until 6pm Sunday to Thursday and 10am until 8pm Friday and Saturday. Why not pop in for delicious traditional hot and cold food made on-site and check out the antiques and of course Cornerstone’s new additions to history.
Coffees, teas, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are available. Check out their website for details
See Cornerstone’s products for yourself at or follow us on social media.

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