A CHARITY rocked by the death of its chairman last month is now more than a third of the way towards raising the £420,000 it needs to create a new children’s centre to be named after him.
Pathways 4 All has now passed the £150,000 mark as it presses ahead with its plans to revamp a run-down building at the Rising Sun Country Park in Benton to create a facility for disabled people aged up to 25.
It has also been given a double boost in the form of donations of unwanted outdoor seats from North Tyneside Council and play equipment from bosses at Gateshead’s MetroCentre.
The charity’s founder, Lynn McManus, asked if she could have the concrete benches – fitted in North Shields town centre in 2009 as a tribute to Plasticine inventor William Harbutt but removed last year following complaints from shoppers – for its outdoor play area at the country park after learning that they were to be replaced.
It took delivery of the nine seats last week and they have been put in storage until the finishing touches are applied to the play area.
Landscaping work is currently being carried out there by Stephen Huntley, of Killingworth’s Geoff Huntley Plant, and Blyth’s Landscape Management Services ready for grass seeds to be sown.
Lynn said: “I applied for the seats from the council when I heard they were to be taken down.
“We’ll use them as a barrier near the swings and for parents to sit and watch their children in the play area and playing music.
“We still need the grass to be put down. It’s a bit of a mudbath at the minute, but we’re hoping work can be completed this weekend.”
Mr Lamb, killed by a heart attack while playing five-a-side football with friends in Benton, was general manager of the MetroCentre, and his bosses there have donated Little Tykes play equipment – including playhouses, bikes and trikes – as a tribute to him.
The equipment will be used in the Benton children’s centre – to be named after the 50-year-old – once it is refurbished.
Lynn – backed by Tim’s family, friends and colleagues – is determined to raise the final £270,000 needed to refurbish the centre, saying that would be a fitting tribute to their former chairman.
She said: “The work on the building has started. We are doing it in stages.
“This will be the only centre of its kind in the north east.
“Mark Butcher, of Mark Butcher Associates in Gosforth, has given us a year of his time for free to help us apply for any grants.
“We are getting a lot of free help and support from people. It’s a bit like a north east DIY SOS.”
Pathways 4 All’s fundraising efforts were boosted by a fundraising fashion show held at the Village Hotel at Cobalt Business Park in North Shields the day after Tim’s funeral.
The event – featuring the mothers of children helped by the charity, as well as Tim’s wife Phillipa and daughter Alice, as models – raised more than £5,000.
Following on from the show, the charity has produced 10,000 wristbands for sale and 2,500 cuddly lamb toys, called Tim Lambs, which have been bought by the MetroCentre to sell to raise funds.
Lynn is now looking for outlets to sell the bands, costing £1 each, such as churches, pubs, schools, bingo halls and shops.
Pathways 4 All has been further boosted by MetroCentre creator and former Newcastle United chairman Sir John Hall signing up as one of its patrons and building company Kier North East choosing it as its charity of the year.
Anyone interested in supporting the charity can contact Lynn on (0191) 280 8163.
n A memorial service for Mr Lamb, of Whitley Bay, is due to take place on Sunday to allow friends and colleagues unable to attend his funeral at the town’s St Mary’s Church to pay their respects.
It will take place in the MetroCentre’s Town Square, next to House of Fraser, with refreshments served at 5pm. Alice and the TyneMet gymnastics team she is a member of will be performing at 5.15pm, followed by a tribute led by Canon Lyn Jamieson from 6pm.
Everyone is welcome to attend.