Foundation Raises More Than £60,000 At 10 Year Anniversary Dinner
Newcastle United Foundation has raised over £60,000 at a star studded gala dinner last night at St. James’ Park.
The black tie event, hosted by sports broadcaster Gabby Logan, saw Newcastle United Manager Rafa Benitez and his coaching staff, alongside current and former players, support the achievements of the outstanding individuals helped by the Foundation, as well celebrating the Foundation’s 10 Year Anniversary.
Olly McKenna, aged 11, scooped the Young Learner award, presented by Newcastle United defender Federico Fernandez, and Susan Justice of event sponsor Bidfood. Olly came to work with the Foundation after being diagnosed with a brain tumour. Thanks to the partnership between the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Newcastle United Foundation, Olly was able to continue learning whilst undergoing treatment at Great North Children’s Hospital.
Next up was the Young Leader Award won by Foundation Community Coach Ismael Bamba. Presented by Andy Mcleod of award sponsor Tolent and Newcastle United keeper Martin Dubravka. Ismael was born in the Ivory Coast but fled civil war in the country in 2006 to make a new home in Newcastle. Ismael enrolled on the National Citizen Service in 2012, joined Kicks soon after, eventually becoming a full time Community Coach and a proud role model to other young people in his community. Ismael was also recently included in Ugo Ehiogu’s One To Watch list at the prestigious Football Black List Awards.
Newcastle United Manager Rafa Benitez and Suzanne Clark of award sponsor Inter-Vention presented the Disabled Player of the Year award to 7 year old Sam McKie from the Foundation’s Power Chair Football team. Sam was presented with the award for his outstanding contribution to the junior Power Chair team.
Rafa remained on stage to present the Disabled Player of the Year – highly commended award. 11-year-old Chloe French is profoundly deaf and is one of the star players of the Foundation Deaf Football Team. Chloe’s dream is to compete at the Deaflympics and has already been invited onto the FA’s Deaf Emergent Talent Programme.
Newcastle United striker and Foundation Ambassador Ayoze Perez joined Phil Maguire from award sponsor First Mortgage North East to present The Alder Sweeney Award in memory of Newcastle United fans John Alder and Liam Sweeney who tragically lost their lives in the MH17 plane crash in 2014. This special award recognises a person or organisation making an outstanding contribution in their local community. This year’s Alder Sweeney award was presented to fans Steve Hastie and Bill Corcoran on behalf of the NUFC Fans Foodbank.
For the final award of the evening, Maria Harris from headline sponsor Atom Bank joined Newcastle United legend Shola Ameobi to present the Adult Learner Award to Alex Leigh aged 21. Alex was homeless and unemployed and referred to the Foundation by Crisis. His motivation and desire to find a job, coupled with mentoring and support from Newcastle United Foundation helped him to find a job as a kitchen porter at Slaley Hall where he is now training to be a chef.
There were also two very special inductions to the Hall of Fame, Andrew Cole and Frank Clark whose awards were presented by Steve Harper and Bob Moncur respectively.
Kate Bradley, Head of Newcastle United Foundation said: “I would like to thank everyone that supported our 10th Anniversary fundraising dinner.
“All of our award winners are a testament to what can be achieved with the right support, care and guidance. We are really privileged to work with so many people who trust us to help them make positive life changes but could not do this without the support of the community.”