End of an era as Sunderland charity champion Julie Reay closes fund set up in son's memory after raising £150,000 for good causes
A charity champion who’s raised more than £150,000 for good causes in memory of her son says it’s the “end of an era” as she closes the trust set up in his name.
Julie Reay, from Barnes, faced unimaginable tragedy when her son Peter died in a rope swing accident in Galley’s Gill in November 2002 when the Monkwearmouth School pupil was just 13-years-old.
Determined to keep Peter’s memory alive, Julie channelled her grief to set up the Peter David Lane Trust Fund.
It started with just £50 in the pot in 2003 but snowballed into a fund which has since raised more than £150,000 for countless causes.
Julie was always determined that the money raised would stay in Sunderland and there can be few Wearside charities she hasn’t helped, earning her a number of awards including Best of Wearside trophies and representing the North East in the national Pride of Britain awards.
The Boxing Day Dip in Seaburn has always been the flagship event for Julie and her dedicated team of fundraisers, with just some of the many charities helped including the Echo’s Christmas Toy Appeal, 4 Louis, CRUK, Great North Air Ambulance, RNLI, PDSA, Brothers In Arms, Kian’s Gift, Wearside Women in Need and St Benedict’s Hospice, as well as many smaller causes helping seriously ill children and adults.
Now, almost 18 years to the day since she set up the fund, Julie has taken the difficult decision to close the fund, but insists Peter’s legacy will live on.
"After thinking long and hard I have finally made the decision to close Peter’s Trust Fund, it just feels like the time is right,” she told the Echo.
"After a long, hard 18 years of fundraising the decision has not been easy, however, I feel extremely proud of all we have achieved over the years.”
She added: “I would like to think I have inspired many others to do the same. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has supported me and the fund over the years.
"I will continue to help and support you when and if I can. Every donation made was very special, from £20 to £20,000, they all made a difference and were all special memories to hold in my heart forever.”