A GALAXY of Sunderland stars teamed up with young achievers to honour their hard work and dedication.
The Top Scorer event at the Stadium of Light saw 12 awards presented to young people – as well as dedicated adult community workers, learners and families – who have excelled during their time with the club’s official charity.
Down’s Syndrome sufferer Harry Brown, nine, was handed the Team Player award for his “unbelievable spirit and energy” over the past year.
Dad Gavin, 38, said his son regularly attends Making Moves and DS Active sessions at the Crowtree Leisure Centre, in Sunderland.
“He gets so much out of the sessions,” said the bank worker, from Chester-le-street. “He’s come along so much. It’s great to see him mixing with the group and enjoying himself.
“He’s played all sorts of sports and has even picked up a bit of sign language.”
Other winners included pupils at Castle View School, who scooped the Enterprise award for their football-themed mobile phone app.
The gizmo was the brainchild of 14-year-olds Laura Amer and Terri Topping, from Castletown, Anna Walton and Sarah Champken, from Hylton Castle, and Stevie-Leigh McKenna, from Red House.
“The idea behind it was to use football to help get young people active and exercising,” said Laura. “We pitched it to a group of business people and they really liked it.
“They singled us out for special praise and we were put forward for the award.”
Striker Fraizer Campbell and midfielder David Meyler, along with boss Martin O’Neill, said they were “overwhelmed” by the winners.
“It’s important that we’re involved in the foundation and the work that it does,” said Fraizer. “It’s nice to come here and meet the people who have been helped by it.”
David, who presented the Wearside schoolgirls with their award, was also impressed by the youngsters.
“They have all been fantastic,” he said. “I think everyone was overwhelmed by their achievements.”
The SAFC Foundation, which is the club’s registered charity, works with up to 40,000 children every year, helping them gain skills and qualifications as well as using family learning to support communities.
“It is just amazing when you look at this programme and the work that it does,” said Martin.