X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent stars raise cash in memory of Sunderland rugby player

Jamie Maclennan who died aged 27 in December 2014
Jamie Maclennan who died aged 27 in December 2014
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X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent stars are hoping to pull in the crowds at a charity ball in memory a much-missed son who died in tragic circumstances.

The second Chin4Jamie Ball will take place in April next year following the death of Sunderland Rugby Club player Jamie Maclennan.

X Factor star Jake Quickenden

X Factor star Jake Quickenden

Jamie, who was diagnosed with myoclonic juvenile epilepsy at the age of 16, died at his Thornhill home following a fatal seizure last December aged just 27. His mum Karen, a fundraiser at children’s respite centre Grace House, said that the family’s grief has been helped by the thousands of pounds have been raised for the charity following his death.

Karen said: “No one can prepare you for losing a child – however to lose a child without warning was to us, Jamie’s family, even more devastating.”

Within weeks of his death family and friends wanted to fundraise in Jamie’s memory from taking part in sky dives, Total Warrior, Mad March Mare and the Great North Run raising thousands of pounds.

Now, next year’s ball will feature performances by former X Factor singer Jake Quickenden as well as Hartlepool impressionist Danny Posthill, who starred in the recent Britain’s Got Talent contest. Karen added: “In April we held our first Chin4Jamie Ball which sold out in two weeks and over 450 guests attended.

Next year the ball will be held in a marquee on the field Jamie played rugby on from the age of 12 and with over half the tables already reserved we are expecting 750 plus guests on the night.

Karen Maclennan

“I never dreamt that there would be such a massive response but everyone wanted to be there and £25,000 was raised towards a specialist mini bus for Grace House.”

“Next year the ball will be held in a marquee on the field Jamie played rugby on from the age of 12 and, with over half the tables already reserved, we are expecting 750 plus guests on the night.

“We have Britain’s Got Talent Danny Posthill appearing – however the highlight of the night will be Jamie’s friends from Sunderland Rugby Club and his girlfriend Emily Ferries, whose surprise performances I’m sure will both steal the show!”

Grace House supports children and young people aged from five to 18 years old from all over the North East who have complex disabilities, health needs and life limiting conditions.

They offer overnight specialist short breaks in their purpose-built centre, which has eight fully accessible bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms.

Tables for Chin4Jamie start from £40 per person and include a Bellini reception drink and three course dinner cooked by chef David Gill, of Juniper’s @ The Cavalier, who will be installing his own kitchen in the grounds to enable him to provide a five-star bespoke menu.

David said: “We were extremely flattered to be asked by Karen and the charity committee to tender for this amazing event for such a worthy cause.

“We plan on making everyone’s dinner something to remember so that the food will be a lasting memory to go along with the fantastic plans the committee have for the ball.”

The ball will be held on Saturday, April 16, at Ashbrooke Sports Club, in West Lawn.

For more information or to book a table or individual tickets contact Karen or Jemma Hutchinson on 525 2885 or email JH@gracehouse.co.uk.