A WEARSIDE mum with a heart of gold has given a tremendous boost to the Echo Christmas Toy Appeal.
Julie Reay’s son, Peter Lane, died in a rope swing accident when he was just 13.
Despite her heartbreak, Julie has been raising funds ever since in his memory to help Wearside children living in poverty.
Julie said: “I started giving to the Echo Toy Appeal in 2003. After tragically losing Peter the year before, his presents had lain unopened.
“So I made the decision to give them to the appeal and make a difference to a child at Christmas time. I’m sure that’s what Peter would have wanted.”
Since then, Julie has donated to the appeal every December for a decade.
And this year she has really pushed the boat out, donating £1,000 raised at Peter’s memorial night in November.
Friends, family and supporters gathered at Peter’s night to remember him and raise money for local causes.
Julie said: “It was one of the hardest events I have ever organised and at one point I thought I could not go on with it. I couldn’t believe 10 years had passed. I am very proud of Peter’s trust fund and the £140,000 it has raised for charities over the years.”
Julie and her daughter, Vicky Lane, did a supermarket sweep in Sainsbury’s and bought sweets, chocolates, pyjamas, hats, gloves, Christmas crackers, cosy socks and gifts for the Toy Appeal.
Julie also bought bowling alley and cinema vouchers to hand out to the charities the appeal benefits.
These are: Wearside Women in Need, B2B+ in Hendon, the George Hudson charity and the Sunderland Orphanage Educational Foundation.
All of the donated toys and gifts go to Sunderland’s most neediest families and children.
Where to drop off toys
ANYONE wishing to donate toys, gifts or Christmas foodstuffs can do so at the following places:
The following are our collection points:
* Echo House, Pennywell.
* Echo Office, High Street West.
* Sainsbury’s, The Galleries in Washington.
* Asda Customer Services, Leechmere.
* Asda Customer Services, Byron Place, Seaham.
* Morrisons, Doxford Park.
* Morrisons, Seaburn.
* Morrisons, Castletown.
* The Bridges Customer Services Desk.
* The University of Sunderland Gateway building, Chester Road.
* Olivers Dental Studio