Charity’s special day celebrated by families

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A NORTH Tyneside-based charity which supports disabled children and their families has celebrated its 60th anniversary.

The Percy Hedley Foundation, which has schools in Forest Hall and Killingworth, was set up by a group of parents back in 1953.

Stephen Darke, 71, who was born with cerebral palsy, was one of the first of the 12 children to attend the school when it first opened.

And he was back at the Forest Hall school to unveil a commemorative plaque at an event celebrating the charity’s diamond jubilee.

Dozens of others who have used the Percy Hedley services over the years joined him, including Paralympic gold medallist Stephen Miller, who was at the school for seven years in the 1980s.

Local MP Mary Glindon and Mayor Linda Arkley also turned out to show their support at the afternoon event.

Carole Harder, chief executive of the foundation, said: “Sixty-years ago there was no ready-made model on which the parents could base their proposed service, but they were fortunate enough to have visionary health care professionals who began to develop what we would now call a centre of excellence.

“Percy Hedley Foundation has grown substantially over the past 60 years in response to the need for practical support and services for disabled children, adults and their families.

“We’re proud that, over the years, thousands of people have learnt to become more independent and are now able to lead fuller and more active lives because of the support they have received at the foundation.”