Be a sport and give appeal your backing

18 Jun Be a sport and give appeal your backing

A SPORTS academy open to hundreds of disabled North East youngsters is hoping to transform even more lives through June’s Go Bananas fundraising drive.

The Percy Hedley Sports Academy, based in Killingworth, aims to provide opportunities for children to engage in sports ranging from basketball and football to boccia and martial arts at a competitive level.

And it has been repeatedly backed in its efforts by The Chronicle’s Sunshine Fund, which will buy 10 sports wheelchairs for the centre – if it reaches its £50,000 fundraising target this month.

The new chairs will replace a set bought by the Sunshine Fund when the Academy was launched in 2005, giving youngsters with a range of learning and physical disabilities, aged from six, the chance to try wheelchair basketball, tennis, rugby and handball.

Sports development officer Adam Parry said: “Sadly the current chairs are not fit for purpose any more and these new additions would be a massive boost if we can get them.

“They will enable more children to take part in these sports and we know it can change their lives.”

Currently, about 150 people use the Percy Hedley Sports Academy – which is attached to the Percy Hedley Foundation – and about 60 of these members use the wheelchairs regularly.

The new chairs would cost the Sunshine Fund £14,157, with only 12 days left of the annual Go Bananas appeal.

Sunshine Fund director Caroll Pattison, who recently met children at the Academy, said: “It was great to visit the kids and spend some time with them, seeing how they will use the sports wheelchairs they have requested from us.

“They not only have so much fun when they use them, but it teaches them co-ordination and teamwork.

“I hope you can help us raise the £14,157, as the chairs we bought 10 years ago are getting old and won’t last much longer.”

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Go Bananas is also aiming to provide specialist equipment to 10 North East children with the money raised in June through a range of activities.

Julieanne Kelly, office manager at the charity, added: “Thank you to Adam and to all the children we met when we visited.

“Without this equipment the children can not take part in activities such as football and basketball. We hope Chronicle readers back our appeal and give what they can.”

To donate to Go Bananas, visit justgiving.com/Go-Bananas-June, call the office on 0191 201 6090, text GBSF55 followed by the amount to 70070, or deliver donations to The Chronicle’s office reception in Groat Market, Newcastle. Alternatively, send cheques made payable to The Chronicle Sunshine Fund, Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1ED.

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