Grandma's pledge to raise thousands for Sunderland school with Bongo's Bingo-inspired event

A bingo-style fundraiser is taking place this month in support of a Sunderland school – and you can do your bit to help its children benefit from life-changing equipment.

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 4:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 6:25 pm
Paula Lay, grandmother of Tiana Johnson, 5.
Paula Lay, grandmother of Tiana Johnson, 5.

Paula Lay, of Redhouse, is gearing up to launch her second Dabber Dance, an evening of fundraising for the city’s Sunningdale School, which her granddaughter Tiana Johnson, five, attends.

The Springwell school supports young people aged between two and 11 with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, and Paula has revealed hopes to collect £10,000 this year through her event.

Ahead of the Dabber Dance at the end of October, Paula is appealing for the public to get involved and help buy vital and bespoke equipment with their donations.

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The event is taking place on Saturday, October 26.

Tiana has global late development, epilepsy and agenesis of the corpus callosum, but has benefitted immensely from the use of equipment bought following last year’s dance.

Paula said: “We buy much-needed sensory equipment to help my granddaughter and her friends at school through our fundraising.”

More than six months of planning have gone towards this year’s event.

Aoife Howes and Archie Farquhar.

Celia Wright, headteacher, said the support the school gets from its fundraisers and parents is “invaluable" in providing specialist equipment for the children that they could not afford otherwise.

Calling on the public to back the event for another year, she added: “We get a lot of support from the community and our parents, and people deserve some recognition.

“They put a lot of time and effort into fundraising and it’s not an easy task.”

Donations to the Tiana’s Troopers fund have already been coming in, with all money raised going directly to equipment and facilities for children at Sunningdale.

Tiana Johnson, 5 and mum Leigh Johnson, left, and grandma Paula Lay, right.

The event is taking place on Saturday, October 26 from 7pm at Rainton Meadows Arena, Houghton. The venue provides room hire and its staff free of charge.

Tickets cost £15 and are available through contacting Sunningdale School or Paula directly on 07704044126.

Tiana Johnson using one of the bikes which was paid for using money raised at the 2018 event.
Handing over the money raised for Sunningdale School at the 2018 event.
Tiana with her mum Leigh Johnson and dad Josh Lay.