MORE than £44,000 has been handed out to good causes across Sunderland as the city remembers one of its most famous sons.
The Sir Tom Cowie Fund at the Community Foundation has awarded grants to eight Wearside groups helping disadvantaged young people – on the day a memorial service is held at Sunderland Minister in honour of the man who built a business empire.
The groups funded in this latest round include Blue Watch Youth Centre, which was awarded £9,846 towards a learning programme for 24 disabled young people to support the development of their practical independent living skills.
Steven Rylance, assistant manager from Blue Watch Youth Centre said: “It was fantastic news to hear that we were awarded a grant for our learning programme from the Sir Tom Cowie Fund, and particularly timely in helping us to remember all of the good work that Sir Tom did for Sunderland, in particular through his charitable giving.”
Rob Williamson, chief executive of the Community Foundation, added: “I am delighted that we are awarding this round of grants from the Sir Tom Cowie Fund to such brilliant youth projects in Sunderland.
“It is also a great way for us to commemorate Sir Tom’s vision and commitment to this area. His philanthropy will live on through our Fund, and through his own charitable trust which focuses on causes in County Durham.”
A memorial service for Sir Tom was being held at Sunderland Minster at 2pm today.
David Gray, a spokesman for Sir Tom’s estate, said: “There are going to be a couple of people speaking – one on behalf of family and friends and, on behalf of the city, Professor Peter Fidler from the University of Sunderland.”
Sir Tom Cowie died in January, aged 89, after a life dedicated to Sunderland in both business and personal capacities.