Country music star Dolly Parton has donated almost $9m (£6.9m) to Tennessee families who lost their homes in wildfires which ravaged the state last year.

The Jolene singer, who is originally from the area, gave 875 families from Sevier County $10,000 (£7,000) each to help with recovery efforts.

The donations were given in $1,000 (£770) instalments over five months as part of Parton's My People fund, but a surplus meant the families could be given a final cheque of $5,000 (£3,850).

"I just don't know what we would have done without this Dolly fund," Amanda Green told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "I am so blessed right now. I'm still in shock."

Another recipient, Jennifer Keylor, said: "If it wasn't for this money, we would be struggling a lot more."

The money is intended to help families rebuild after the fires caused severe damage to 2,100 homes and 60 businesses. Fourteen people were killed, arson was later blamed.

Parton, who is one of the most successful country singers of all time – held a TV fundraising event and featured performances from other country stars including Kenny Rogers and Hank Williams Jr.

In addition to the My People fund, Parton is donating $3m (£2.3m) to the creation of another charity, called Mountain Tough Recovery, to help affected residents with longer term costs.