Diwali festival of lights shines at Stadium of Light

Umesh Patel with the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Susan Winfield, OBE
Umesh Patel with the Lord-Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Susan Winfield, OBE
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The city’s first large scale celebration to mark the Hindu festival of lights has been heralded a huge success.

More than 200 city business people attended the Diwali event at the Stadium of Light, taking up the opportunity to learn more about this important date in the Hindu calendar.

Organised by Sunderland pharmacist, Umesh Patel, the event also raised funds for both the NSPCC and the Foundation of Light.

Guests enjoyed authentic music, Indian dancing and a range of dishes including Indian street food followed by a buffet of traditional favourites.

A firework display – sponsored by Washington-based Impact Pyrotechnics – also added the wow factor to an evening which is hoped will become an annual event.

“I am delighted with what a huge success the evening was and how many people embraced the opportunity to learn about a different culture,” said Mr Patel.

“We had a fantastic response to the food and the entertainment and we now definitely want to try to do this every year.”

Gary Hutchinson, Commercial Director at SAFC, said the stadium had been delighted to host the celebration.

“This was something very different for us and it gave us the opportunity to showcase how the Stadium of Light is perfect for all kinds of events,” he said.

“We worked closely with the organisers to ensure everything went perfectly and we were delighted that everyone had such an amazing evening.”