New minibus for Sunderland respite centre Grace House

The Chin4Jamie Ball in memory of the late Jamie Maclennan, has helped buy a mini-bus for Grace House, in Faber Road, Southwick, Sunderland, with help from Town Centre Citroen and O&H Conversions. Pictured are Jamie's mum Karen Maclennan (in cab) with her daughter Nichola and greand children Ruby (4), Charlie (3) and Harriet (6), Roger Quigley of O&H Conversions, Mark Johnston and Chris Sopp of Town Centre Citroen with staff and commitee members of Grace House, on Saturday.
The Chin4Jamie Ball in memory of the late Jamie Maclennan, has helped buy a mini-bus for Grace House, in Faber Road, Southwick, Sunderland, with help from Town Centre Citroen and O&H Conversions. Pictured are Jamie's mum Karen Maclennan (in cab) with her daughter Nichola and greand children Ruby (4), Charlie (3) and Harriet (6), Roger Quigley of O&H Conversions, Mark Johnston and Chris Sopp of Town Centre Citroen with staff and commitee members of Grace House, on Saturday.
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Youngsters who use a Sunderland respite centre will be travelling in style after a new mini bus was bought following a hugely successful fund-raiser.

Grace House Charity Committee was formed after the sudden death of popular Sunderland RFC player Jamie Maclennan, who died following a seizure, which is thought to have been linked to epilepsy which he suffered.

There are so many people to thank but I would especially like to thank everyone on our committee who have themselves continued to support me even though some of them have had personal losses and illness too.

Karen Maclennan

In April 2015, the first ever chin4Jamie Ball was held, raising more than £27,000 for the charity.

Karen Maclennan, Jamie’s mum and Grace House’s senior fund-raiser, said: “We were totally devastated when Jamie died and the pain is still as raw today as it was 17 months ago.

“Jamie was a fit healthy young man with epilepsy and played rugby from the age of 12.

“When Jamie died, I together with his sister Nichola, girlfriend Emily Ferries, aunt Angela Underwood and close friends formed a charity committee to raise money in his name for Grace House, a charity Jamie supported and volunteered for.”

Now, after more than £50,000 was generated from this year’s ball and thanks to help from car dealership Town Centre Citroen, O&H Vehicle Conversions and Arthur J Gallagher, the specially adapted bus has been handed over to Grace House.

Karen said: “There are so many people to thank, but I would especially like to thank everyone on our committee who have themselves continued to support me even though some of them have had personal losses and illness too.

“Everyone of them is one in a million and I will never be able to thank them enough.

“I also need to thank Sunderland Rugby Club for their support and friendship to our family and everyone who came along and helped make the 2015 and 2016 #chin4jamie balls so successful.”

James Henderson, member of the committee, said: “It is fantastic to now have the mini bus at Grace House and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported the chin4jamie ball in helping to make this happen.”

Chris Sopp, of Town Centre Citroen, said: “We are proud to be supporters of Grace House and the handing over of this specially adapted bespoke mini bus to the Grace House Charity Committee is another landmark moment for both Grace House and for us.

“It is also a fine tribute to the efforts and enthusiasm of Karen Maclennan and the team and credit to the organisers and supporters of the highly successful chin4jamieball.”

The ball is set to become a permanent feature of Sunderland’s social calendar and details of next year’s ball will be announced shortly.

For more information on the 2017 chin4jamie ball please email km@gracehouse.co.uk or telephone Karen Maclennan on 525 2885 or 07956 566269.