A BELLY dance teacher has helped the typhoon-hit Philippines.
Sara Smith and members of her dance group held a variety night at the Chesters pub in Chester Road, Sunderland, to raise funds for the Asian country after Typhoon Haiyan struck in November.
The 39-year-old, from Roker, organised the event because her boyfriend – former SAFC star and Wales international John Cornforth – coached football in the Philippines for two years.
She said: “We got involved as John worked out there and got to know the people really well.
“He has always said how fabulous and caring they are. He said they didn’t have much, yet always had smiles on their faces.
“We put on a show with dancers, singers and comedians, Sunderland’s Filipinos and African community also got involved.
“It was a great night and we raised almost £1,000 which went directly to two villages out there.”
More than 13million people were affected by the typhoon, four million were forced to leave their homes and the death toll exceeded 10,000.
Sara was delighted to receive photographs from the Philippines showing the results of her fund-raising.
She said: “I cried tears of happiness when I saw the pictures, knowing we had helped people who not only lost their homes, shelter food and clothing but had lost family members and friends as well.
“The pictures inspired me to do more and John and I are planning visiting these villages with gifts of clothing and small toys for the little ones
“Perhaps John can coach them football while I teach the girls to belly dance.” Anyone who would like to donate raffle prizes or things to take to the Phillipines can contact Sara on 0787 6248070.
Sara’s next fund-raising event is at the Buffs club in Southwick on March 7 to celebrate her BellyDance Moves class’s fourth birthday. Tickets are £5.
It will be held for Annie’s Dreams, the good cause which she set up in memory of her sister Anne, who died aged 41 in 2012 after battling cancer.
It supports charities including Macmillan Cancer Support.