Top of the shop - Beacon of Light lands £500,000 tombola donation

Foundation of Light CEO Lesley Spuhler OBE  with tombola's Phil Cronin on the Beacon of Light construction site
Foundation of Light CEO Lesley Spuhler OBE with tombola's Phil Cronin on the Beacon of Light construction site
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Sunderland's new Beacon of Light has hit a £500,000 jackpot, thanks to on-line bingo firm tombola.

Tombola, which is based in the city, has made a £500,000 donation to the building of the Beacon.

Developed by the Foundation of Light, the £18million cube-shaped development, which will be illuminated at night, will include education and training facilities with an indoor football pitch above.

Work on the Beacon, which is located next to the Stadium of Light, began in October 2016 and is expected to be completed early next year. The donation from tombola towards the capital cost of the scheme will be used in phase one of the construction.

Tombola founder and CEO Phil Cronin said: "The Foundation of Light has an enviable track record in delivering pioneering education and sport programmes across the region and I’ve always been inspired and impressed by the work they do in the region.

"The powerful mix of sport, health and wellbeing, alongside education and training makes the Beacon a unique proposition, so I’m delighted we’re backing the Foundation to make a meaningful difference to even more people’s lives in the future.

"It’s a really exciting time for tombola and the Beacon as we are both ambitious to do grow and expand - and will both open landmark new head offices close to one another in 2018."

Construction on tombola’s landmark new £6million HQ at Wylam Wharf started in March and the company is planning to expand its software development workforce in Sunderland by a further 80 people.

Foundation of Light founder Sir Bob Murray CBE said: "The Beacon of Light will be a first and deliver a unique environment for education, sport, health/well-being and the world of work but it would not be possible without the support of successful and socially responsible companies like tombola.

"Tombola is the leading on-line bingo company in Europe, one of the biggest employers in Sunderland and a huge home-grown tech success story - and remains committed to investing in the region and making a difference to local people.

"It is a socially responsible company with an exciting future.

"I am personally delighted to be continuing and strengthening our relationship with Phil Cronin who is an outstanding businessman and entrepreneur. He comes from a long-established and distinguished Sunderland family and is fiercely proud and supportive of his home city.

"We are enormously grateful to tombola and Phil for sharing our vision for education and social care and for their commitment to helping us support more people in the North East."

Founded in 2000, tombola.co.uk is the largest bingo site in the UK, with more players than any other. It is also the leading on-line bingo company in Spain and Italy with offices in Milan, Madrid and Gibraltar – and has plans to expand into further new international territories in the near future.

The company develops and produces original bingo software and games, created by an in-house development team and is one of the largest employers of game and web developers in the North East of England.

The Foundation of Light was established in 2001 and uses the power of football to educate, inspire and motivate. One of the largest and leading sports charities in the UK, it has an excellent track record of working with children, young people and their families.