KEEPING faith with Darlington Building Society has been a real family affair for former nurse Val Dickinson.

Val’s mother was a loyal customer and, when she died in 1991, the money she left her daughter was again placed in the safe hands of the Society.

“My mother was always very pleased with the service she received from Darlington Building Society, so I thought to myself ‘I’ll stick with them’ and immediately opened a savings account,” says Val.

Val has been a satisfied DBS customer ever since and her loyalty was rewarded five years ago when she was asked to cut a ribbon to formally unveil new branding at her local branch, in Middlesbrough, to mark the Society’s 160th anniversary.

“It was such an honour,” she recalls. “I couldn’t believe they asked me – I felt so special.”

Although cutting the ribbon may have been a surprise for Val, DBS always puts its customers first, and Val’s loyalty and cheerfulness during visits to the branch made her popular with the staff.

“They’ve always been good to me when I go in,” says Val, who lives in Middlesbrough. “They recognise me, greet me in such a nice way, and have a chat – they feel like friends really.

“I went in with a friend once and, when she saw how the staff treated me, she decided to open an account too. She was so impressed, she wanted to join.

“I don’t have a computer, so what I love is that personal service, and I’ve really missed going into the branch during the lockdown.”

Val was born in Nottingham but came to Middlesbrough when she was just three, after her father, became manager of the town’s Marks & Spencer store.

She went on to work as a nurse at Middlesbrough General Hospital and married her husband – a chief engineer in the merchant navy – in 1956.

“We’ve always been so well looked after by Darlington Building Society as a family and long may it continue,” says Val.