A SMORGASBORD of lavish Indian cuisine is set to raise funds for sick children tonight.
Restaurant owner Ahmed Bashir, who runs Naz Haven, in Fence Houses, has teamed up with the Grace House appeal to host an Indian buffet and collect money for the charity.
He was inspired to throw the tasty fund-raiser after visiting the site of the recently completed Southwick hospice, which is not yet open.
The restaurateur said visiting Grace House North East brought back memories of when his own son, Ahmer Bashir, 20, who is studying medicine in Romania, was seriously ill as a baby.
“My middle son had a suspected hole in the heart, and we had to take him to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool when he was only one week old,” he said.
“My wife and I were both in shock. It was very traumatic for us.
“Fortunately, he didn’t need surgery, and the problem corrected itself, but having gone through that experience, I can’t imagine having a child who is terminally ill.”
Ahmed will greet guests at the fund-raiser tonight with a drinks reception and lay on a selection of dishes from his native Punjab for them to try.
He said he wanted to do something special to help support the staff at Grace House, after being overwhelmed by the work they do.
“The staff are amazing,” he said.
“They are truly devoted to what they do, and I just felt that I wanted to do something to help.
“The hospice is a very special thing for Sunderland and the North East, and I only hope it is a great success.”
Grace House fund-raiser Laura Gillespie, said she is delighted to be working with Ahmed.
She said: “We would encourage people to come along and have a great evening, while, of course, supporting the charity at the same time.”
Admission to the event, which will include a raffle, is £10 on the door. All welcome.