Windows of Nigella Lawson-backed Sunderland cookery school launched to help cancer patients smashed in attack

A cookery school launched in Sunderland to help patients rediscover their love of food and flavour has been the target of a brick attack.

By Fiona Thompson
Saturday, 20 July, 2019, 15:57
Celebrity chef Nigella Lawson helped Ryan Riley launch his Life Kitchen project in Mowbray Park last month.

A window of the Life Kitchen, set up in a lodge within Mowbray Park and officially launched last month with the help of broadcaster and cook book author Nigella Lawson, was smashed yesterday evening, Friday, July 19.

The damage has left the team saddened but defiant, as they prepare to press on with their sessions which work with people whose taste has been affected by cancer treatments.

Ryan Riley, from Washington, set up the project after he was inspired to start the charity after losing mum Krista to cancer five years ago, at the age of just 47.

Today, he said he was “absolutely devastated” to wake up to the news of the damage, with the cost of repairs put at £85.

The incident has been reported to Northumbria Police and Ryan believes it could be linked to a spate of other attacks on city centre buildings over recent days.

He said: “At 8.35pm last night, it was caught on our security cameras that a person had thrown a brick at one of our windows.

A photo taken by Ryan Riley of the damage to his Life Kitchen base in Mowbray Park, Sunderland.

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“Luckily, we have got security windows and the film put on it stopped the brick coming through.

“It’s going to have to be replaced, but a good local glazing firm has given us a good rate.

“But we are not going to let this stop us from delivering a high-quality free service and next Saturday we will be having a double class, with a morning and afternoon session.

“The windows of the grade II listed building were put in along with CCTV when we had it refurbished and the smashed window is going to be replaced as soon as possible.

The brick attack was captured on CCTV. Photo by Ryan Riley.

“We are all disappointed but we know the community is behind us and we can’t let the minority stop us.”

He added there are still places left on the sessions to be held next Saturday, with more details available via LifeKitchen.co.uk.

Sunderland chef Ryan Riley's said the team was very disappointed by the vandal attack on his Life Kitchen building in Mowbray Park.