How you can join Sunderland Echo appeal to help new Thornhill Park School for autistic children

Sunderland Echo readers took Thornhill Park School to their hearts when it needed their help back in 1980.
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From pigeon fanciers to punk rockers, different sections of society concocted a variety of ways to support our campaign to raise £25,000 so that the school’s founders could buy its first home.

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Among the events already planned is the society’s annual Walk for Autism Acceptance in Herrington Country Park on Friday, April 17, at 11am.

Hundreds of people took part in the 2017 Walk for Autism Acceptance.Hundreds of people took part in the 2017 Walk for Autism Acceptance.
Hundreds of people took part in the 2017 Walk for Autism Acceptance.

With entry costing £5 per adult and free for children, organisers are hoping more than 1,000 people will complete the one-mile course.

NEAS fundraiser Kevin Meikle said: "The people of Sunderland were so generous 40 years ago with money coming from a wide variety of groups and events.

"There were talent shows, pie-eating contests and even birdmen flying contests across the River Wear.

What is autism? Your questions answered

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"It would be lovely if the city supported us again in 2020 to support pupils at our new Thornhill Park School.

"We've got our own annual Walk for Autism Acceptance that people can join at Herrington Country Park after Easter.

"We'd love to get 1,000 people to take part to help them walk off those Easter Eggs.

"Then people could raise sponsorship money by taking part in the Sunderland City Runs in May or even the Great North Run in September.

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"But it doesn't have to be that strenuous and traditional coffee mornings, raffles or auctions would be just as welcome."

Cheques can be made out to the North East Autism Society and addressed to The Fundraising Team, All To Play For Appeal, Thornhill Park School, Portland Road, Sunderland, Tyne/Wear, SR3 1SS.

Online donations can be made via the society’s website at

Registration for the April 17 Walk for Autism Acceptance can be made by logging to