Bollywood night raises hundreds for Sunderland Echo toy appeal

Fundraisers Carla Cuthbertson and Julie Reay, right, with Sunderland Echo's Gavin Foster, left, and Sainsbury's Rob Frazer, and trolleys of Christmas gifts.

Fundraisers Carla Cuthbertson and Julie Reay, right, with Sunderland Echo's Gavin Foster, left, and Sainsbury's Rob Frazer, and trolleys of Christmas gifts.

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Generous Wearsiders are helping to bring smiles to the faces of disadvantaged children this Christmas.

Charity champs Julie Reay and Carla Cuthbertson staged a Bollywood night at the Funky Indian restaurant, in Tavistock Place, in aid of the Echo’s Toy Appeal.

The event managed to raise more than £700 for the annual appeal, which we’ve teamed up with the Hope4Kidz charity to help disadvantaged and special-needs children.

The kind-hearted duo teamed up with the Echo’s managing editor Gavin Foster, to spend the money at Sainsbury’s Silksworth, one of our appeal drop-off points.

They filled trollies with games, dolls and more, as well as sweets donated by the store. The gifts will be distributed across the city to those children most in need.

Julie Reay, from Barnes, has raised more than £150,000 for good causes through her Peter David Lane Trust Fund, which she set up in memory of her son, who died in a rope-swing accident.

Tunstall mum Carla has also suffered the loss of a child after her son Nathan, 19, was killed by a suicide bomber in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in June 2008, while serving his country.

Julie said: “Christmas is such an emotional time for Carla and myself, as we have both lost our precious sons in such tragic circumstances. We have done lots of different fundraising events over the years and helped each other along the way.

“I spoke with Carla and together we decided to donate all proceeds from our Bollywood night to this appeal as we both feel making a difference to some families’ lives, especially at Christmas time, is a priceless gift.

“We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to all who supported us and made this possible, we all had a wonderful night. Also, thanks to Kam Chera from Funky Indian and all the staff who did a great job.”

Echo managing editor Gavin Foster said: “We are extremely grateful to Julie and all those who donated towards our cause.

“We have been inundated with donations and this is another example of the amazing generosity of the people of the city.”

Last year, 3,224 children’s gifts were delivered with a value of £17,345, thanks to your generosity.

This year we are hoping to top that amount.

Anyone wishing to donate to our appeal can donate toys at one of our designated collection points: Morrisons in Doxford Park and Seaburn; Asda Ryhope; Tesco in The Bridges; Virgin Money Fawcett Street and Hope4 Kidz Office in Pennywell, as well as Sainsbury’s Silksworth, Wessington Way and Washington.

Today is the last day for donations.