A WEARSIDE charities made sure sick youngsters had some much-needed Easter cheer yesterday.
Hope 4 Kidz delivered dozens of chocolate eggs and sweets to patients at the children’s ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Donated by members of the public and businesses, the gifts were collected as part of Sun FM’s Easter Appeal 2013.
In total, the Pennywell-based charity has distributed presents to 1,250 youngsters facing long-term illness, disability, poverty and abuse, beating last years total of 1,229.
Viv Watts, of Hope 4 Kidz, said: “This year we hope to support more children in refuges, hospitals, hospices and special needs units throughout the North East.
“We have beaten the target for last year and we still have eggs to distribute.
“Hope 4 Kidz relies on business and the general public to help make the appeals successful for the special needs children.
“The appeal is so important to the children who may not receive any cheer at Easter.
“The gifts allow children to escape their circumstances.”
Black Cats legends Bobby Kerr and Micky Horswill, members of Sunderland AFC’s 1973 FA Cup winning team, helped hand out the gifts.
“It’s fabulous that the 1973 SAFC Legends Bobby Kerr and Micky Horswill took time out of their busy schedules to help distribute the eggs at Sunderland Royal Hospital,” added Viv.
Sun FM, Nestle Fawdon, Arriva, Gentoo, John Lewis and Morrisons Seaburn supported Hope 4 Kidz.
The Easter bunny also arrived early at Grace House Children’s Hospice in Southwick.
Children who will benefit from the facilities the hospice will offer when open and popped in with their families as RED Driving School.
Ian McIntosh, chief executive officer of RED Driving School, said it was a privilege to help the youngsters.
He added: “I hope that we have been able to bring a little happiness to their Easter holiday.
“As a national business with North East roots, our heart is very much in the region and so it was important to us that the Easter eggs went to a good home.”
Karen Maclennan, senior fund-raiser at Grace House said: “On behalf of the children, we’d like to say thanks to RED for bringing some Easter cheer to our hospice.
“As a charity, we rely heavily on the generosity of individuals and companies and so it is always very welcome when local businesses offer support.
“The children were delighted with the eggs.”