Charity ball in memory of tragic Jamie to be held at Stadium of Light

Jamie Maclennan with his mum, Grace House fund-raiser Karen.
Jamie Maclennan with his mum, Grace House fund-raiser Karen.

A charity ball in memory of a much-missed son will take place at the home of the Black Cats, it has been announced.

Jamie Maclennan tragically died aged 27 in December 2014 after being found in bed at his home.

Jamie, who played rugby for Sunderland RFC, suffered a suspected epileptic fit.

Following his death Jamie’s loving mum Karen created the #chin4jamieball to raise money for Grace House Respite Centre in Sunderland, who she works for as senior-fundraiser.

With an anticipated number of 750 guests for last year’s ceremony, there was no venue in Sunderland that could cope, so Karen and the Grace House Charity Committee, made up of friends and family, decided to create a venue with the help of Sunderland AFC’s 1879 Events at Ashbrooke Sports Club.

This year’s event will take place on May 20 at the Stadium of Light.

Karen said: “When 1879 Events approached me to bring the ball back to the Stadium of Light I was delighted and we are promising guests a Grammy Awards-style evening full of glitz and glitter, reminiscent of the 80s, the decade Jamie was born.”

Jamie was diagnosed with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy when he was 16 and although he had regular seizures, neither he nor his family were told that he could die.

Karen added: “Our world fell apart when I found him that Thursday morning two years ago, it’s something only a parent who has lost a child will understand and the difficulty of going through the motions each day can be so hard.

“Organising the ball helps me to cope with my grief knowing that I am doing something positive despite losing Jamie.”

Jamie was an active volunteer at Grace House, volunteering just days before he died while also taking part in the Grace House Colour in the Park just a couple of months earlier.

Karen added: “Many of the children using Grace House have epilepsy so it is especially poignant that we are able to fund raise for Grace House.

“The two #chin4jamie balls have raised £87,000 which have funded a specially adapted mini bus, numerous pieces of equipment including epilepsy mats, specialist mattresses and funded Tracheostomy training.”

Tickets for the ball start at £50 and include a drinks reception, three course dinner and drinks package.

Entertainment includes soul band The Real Thing which includes original vocalists, brothers Chris and Eddie Amoo and Dave Smith with their five-piece band.

For more about sponsorship packages available or to help with raffle or auction prizes contact Karen on 525 2885 or 07956 566269 or email km@gracehouse.co.uk.