Race to fulfil selfless fundraiser’s dying wish

Jeff Coxon from Seaham has been nominated for a Pride of Wearside award for his charity fundraising.
Jeff Coxon from Seaham has been nominated for a Pride of Wearside award for his charity fundraising.
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THE life of a generous fund-raiser who devoted his later years to helping a city hospice will be remembered at a charity event.

Jeff Coxon, who was terminally ill, suffered from a number of conditions himself, including heart disease, epilepsy and pneumonia, but still threw himself into raising money for Grace House Children’s Hospice.

Jeff, from Seaham, had set himself a target of raising £100,000 and at the time of his death in October, aged 69, he had raised £80,000.

He was best known for dressing up as a clown to raise the money, but amputee Jeff had been planning to do a skydive to further boost the total, but didn’t get that chance.

As a tribute to him, the Grace House Charity Committee has organised a race night at the New Buffs in Southwick on Saturday to help reach Jeff’s target.

Karen MacLennan, a member of the committee, said: “Jeff was such an inspirational person, he is greatly missed by all and in his memory we hope to help reach his target on what would have been his 70th birthday.

“I hope we can all have a fabulous evening, remember Jeff with much fondness and love and raise lots of money for Grace House, which was very close to Jeff’s heart.”

Jeff would have turned 70 on April 15.

Jemma Hutchinson, who also sits on the Grace House Charity Committee, said: “We are holding a race night with a disco, raffle and tombola.

“Jeff was a joker so there will be a few surprises on the night too. He fund-raised for Grace House come rain or shine, and I am honoured to be able to help raise money in Jeff’s name.

“He was a great, funny gentleman whom I miss enormously.”

Jeff’s son Gary, his daughter-in-law and two grandchildren, who were due to fly over from New Zealand for his birthday will attend the event in his honour.

Entry costs £7.50, which also includes a race card and buffet.

To make an online donation go to www.justgiving.com/jeff-coxon2 or text JEFF52, with the amount in pounds (eg £5), to 70070.