Date set for 2017 charity ball in memory of Sunderland rugby player

Jamie Maclennan with his mum, Grace House fund-raiser Karen.
Jamie Maclennan with his mum, Grace House fund-raiser Karen.
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Fundraisers are once again hoping to bring in thousands of pounds in memory of a much-missed Wearside rugby player.

Jamie Maclennan’s family were left devastated by his sudden death in December 2014, aged just 27.

Jamie Maclennan playing for Sunderland RFC.

Jamie Maclennan playing for Sunderland RFC.

Jamie, who played for Sunderland RFC, was found in bed after suffering a suspected epileptic fit.

To mark what would have been his 29th birthday yesterday, his loving mum Karen is launching the third #chin4jamie ball in aid of Grace House children’s respite centre, which she works as a fundraiser for.

The glitzy event is set to take place on May 20.

Karen said: “Jamie was diagnosed with myoclonic juvenile epilepsy at the age of 16. In the months leading up to his death his seizures had been getting worse, however, the epilepsy nurse didn’t think it was anything to worry about.

“Jamie has left a massive hole in all our hearts, one which we are finding very difficult to fill. We are told that time heals, but anyone who has ever lost a child will tell you that it doesn’t get any easier.

“Somehow we manage to cope with our grief each day.”

The third ball will be held at the Stadium of Light and Karen explained: “Each year the ball has grown in numbers from 451 in the first year, to 725 in April this year.

“There is nowhere in Sunderland that can accommodate the number of guests we have, which was why we took the second ball into a marquee at Sunderland Rugby Club where Jamie played rugby.

“I wanted to keep the ball in Sunderland as this is a city Jamie loved and for our third ball Sunderland AFC have been brilliant in offering us a package that we just could not refuse.”

Tickets are from £50 upwards and include a three-course dinner and drinks package. Entertainment is yet to be confirmed, although it is likely to have a 1980s theme.

The #chin4jamie ball is organised by a volunteer committee made up of friends and family of Jamie and Karen, including Jamie’s then girlfriend Emily Ferries, his sister Nichola Maclennan and aunt Angela Underwood.

Anyone who would like more information about tickets or sponsorship opportunities are asked to contact Karen or Jemma Hutchinson on 525 2885 or 07956 566269 or email jh@gracehouse.co.uk.

Karen added: “Grace House was chosen as Jamie supported Grace House it as a volunteer and a fundraiser, helping out at Grace House just a week before he died.

“Many of the children who come to stay at Grace House have epilepsy too.”

As well as Karen, 55, Jamie also left dad Alex, 57, Nichola, 37, brother Aidan, 18, nieces Harriet, seven and Ruby, five, nephew Charlie four, and his girlfriend at the time of his death Emily, 25.