Sunderland fund-raisers are keeping it in the family

FUNDRAISERS: Michael Roper and his son Michael.
FUNDRAISERS: Michael Roper and his son Michael.
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FATHER and son fund-raisers from Wearside are keeping it in the family after they were both nominated for an award.

Michael Roper and his son, also called Michael, let their facial hair grow for months before having all of it shaved off for charity.

They raised more than £500 which was shared between Cancer Research UK and the military organisation Blesma, which helps those who have been seriously injured in the line of duty,

Now they have both been nominated in the fund-raiser of the year category of the Best of Wearside awards while Michael senior is also in contention in the role model section.

That’s down to his work as secretary of the Sunderland branch of the British Heart Foundation.

During that time, the charity has raised thousands of pounds thanks to events such as the annual two-mile Seaburn Stroll.

Michael senior, 63, of Pennywell, who served in the Royal Engineers before becoming a caretaker at the former Havelock Primary School, admitted: “I am gobsmacked to be nominated and it is great news.”

Father and son did the sponsored shave at Johns Barbers, in Norfolk Street, Sunderland city centre, with £550 raised.

That was a “one-off event” but Michael senior has also been part of regular fund-raising with the British Heart Foundation in Sunderland. The branch is operated by a team of eight people and Michael would love for more to come along.

Anyone interested in joining the branch can ring Michael on (0191) 534 2767, or email

The awards, which are held in association with Gentoo, will culminate in a grand finale at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, November 19.

For now, though, we want you to get in touch with your very own heroes before the closing date for nominations early next month.

Whatever the story, we know there are heroes galore out there who are worthy of awards. Tell us all about them.

All you need to do is fill in the nomination form if today’s paper or nominate someone online HERE.