Techies power on for charity

wired: Michael and Adrian McCarroll with their teams.
wired: Michael and Adrian McCarroll with their teams.
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TWO bleary-eyed brothers completed a 24-hour IT endurance event to help support a respite centre’s survival battle.

The Donna Claire Venture, in Seaburn, Sunderland, is facing a desperate fight to stay open as fears continue to grow over its future.

Founders say they urgently need a new benefactor to come forward, with staff and care costs spiralling as councils face huge budget cuts.

In response to the SOS, Adrian and Michael McCarroll, who run Sunderland-based SR1 IT Solutions, stepped forward to volunteer their services, fixing 60 broken computers and performing five critical data recoveries as part of a 24-hour “Tech-a-thon”.

Each piece of kit was entered in the event for £30, plus the cost of parts, to be assessed and repaired by the firm.

Refurbished hardware will also be sold on, with profits going to the charity.

Adrian, 21, said: “We planned for the long haul. Our strategy was simple: maintain a steady pace that would enable us to spread our energy over the full 24-hours.”

A total for the fund-raiser is expected in the coming weeks.

“From the moment the clock hit 2pm on Friday, we knew what the end goal was,” said Mr McCarroll.

The five-room facility supports families by temporarily looking after a loved one with physical disabilities.

Earlier this year Donna Claire, which was saved from closure in 2009 after an Echo-backed fund-raising campaign, revealed that because of cuts it was near crisis point.

Government ministers said at the time they would give an extra £20million for respite care, but local authorities are now under increasing pressure to rein in costs.

“We have always had a massive amount of support from the people of Sunderland,” said co-founder Geraldine Plunkett.

“We always said that the centre belonged to them.

“Here at Donna Claire we love to open our doors and provide a holiday home for people with disabilities.”

The tech-a-thon also gave the opportunity for members of the public and businesses to walk away with prizes, ranging from a pair of cinema tickets to IT support worth more than £1,500.

A list of winners can be found at

Twitter: @Sunderlandecho