Sunderland stars turn models for Fashion Strikes

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SAFC stars ditched their kits to hit the Black Cat-walk for charity.

First team players including Steven Fletcher, Phil Bardsley, Adam Johnson, John O’Shea and derby day goal-scoring hero Fabio Borini were among the sportsmen to strike a pose for last night’s Fashion Strikes.

Sunderland Foundation of Light Strikes Fashion Show 2013 at the Stadium of Light. Phil Bardsley

Sunderland Foundation of Light Strikes Fashion Show 2013 at the Stadium of Light. Phil Bardsley

Each year the event transforms the Stadium of Light into a high fashion hub of glitz and glamour, while raising thousands of pounds for the club’s charity, the Foundation of Light.

Wearside children who have been helped by the charity’s educational and sporting courses were also among those to don designer threads for the event, which raised in excess of £25,000 for the cause.

Defender Phil Bardsley said the event was something the players look forward to each year.

“This is my third or fourth Fashion Strikes show and my modelling gets better each time,” he joked. “But most importantly, this is a great cause which helps people around the area.

“It’s fantastic to see some of the little kids who modelled with us last year come back this year, and it’s fantastic for them to be around their idols. They outshone us on the catwalk. I’m sure some of them will go on to have a modelling career.”

He added: “For the players it’s a chance to give something back to the people who support us week in, week out.”

Around 250 guests, including head coach Gus Poyet, dressed up to the nines for the spectacle which had an All That Jazz theme.

Players who didn’t strut their stuff on the catwalk – including Wes Brown and Ji Dong-Won – hosted tables at the event, which also featured live entertainment and a fund-raising auction with prizes including signed shirts from Barcelona star and World Footballer of the Year, Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and a five night holiday in Dubai.

Foundation of Light development director Ken Teears said: “The calibre of brands we’ve had here really shows how much of a world- class event this is. We’ve had massive backing from the football club and its partners.

“This is one of our biggest fund-raising events of the year and it’s been amazing to not only have the full squad here, but also the kids on the catwalk who take part in our programmes.

“They are just a handful of the 10,000 we help each week.”