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Diving in to help Sunderland teenager

Ellie Ward organised a special charity event at Sunderland Aquatics Centre, raising funds for 16 year old Owen McGurry who suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Around 70 divers took part in a diving event that will help to send Owen to next year's British Grand Prix.
Pictured with Owen are his father Mark, sister Megan, 9, mother Allie and event organiser Ellie Ward.

Ellie Ward organised a special charity event at Sunderland Aquatics Centre, raising funds for 16 year old Owen McGurry who suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Around 70 divers took part in a diving event that will help to send Owen to next year's British Grand Prix. Pictured with Owen are his father Mark, sister Megan, 9, mother Allie and event organiser Ellie Ward.

CHILDREN and adults made a splash raising money to make one young boy’s dream come true.

About 70 people took to the boards of the Sunderland Aquatic Centre at the weekend to raise funds for the charity Dreams Come True.

All were aiming to do enough dives to be the equivalent of a mile in distance – but covered nearly four.

Ellie Ward who organised the event, said: “We had so much support that we reached 3.7miles, and covered the first mile in just over one hour.”

The money from the event went to Owen McGurry’s dream fund, to send the 16-year-old, who suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, to next year’s British Grand Prix.

Ellie, who works for the charity, said: “The pool was full and there were people of all abilities getting involved, from three-year-olds who have never dived to dads who were going off the top board.

“We raised in excess of £1,300 and are still counting.

“It was lovely to meet Owen and his family. It was the first time I have spoken to them.

“Owen’s sister Megan was getting really into it, so we said she could have a diving lesson. I think we’re going to try and organise that soon.”

Ellie, a single mum, had been organising the event for months, working alongside diving coach at the Sunderland Aquatic Centre Steve Pattison, who also took part.

The 23-year-old, who also used to be a diver, said: “Steve got involved and was doing handstands on the top boards and stuff.

“He got a huge round of applause because he teaches the kids to dive but they have never seen him do it.

“I had a go too, and just about managed not to injure myself. It’s a couple of years since I have dived.”

Ellie was trying to raise £2,500 for Owen’s dream fund and is now well on the way to realising that.

“We have raised a large amount of the money we need to achieve Owen’s dream of going to the Grand Prix next year. We needed £2,500 and have nearly raised that, so any extra money made we will put towards hopefully making another child’s dream come true.”

Ellie is now planning her next event to raise more money for the charity.

“It is an art competition, open to everyone,” she said.

“People can send artwork in and it will all get auctioned off to raise money for the cause.

“I want to keep going and raise as much money as possible, because all of it will go to helping make children’s dreams come true.”

To get involved email owensdream@hotmail.com.

Donations can be made at justgiving.com/owensdream

Twitter: @Monica_Turnbull

 

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