Volunteers hand over last cheque

Back row, left to right: volunteers Susannah Eckersley, Elaine Holdsworth, Michelle Lincoln, Rae Lowe and Sarah Greenhalgh. Front row, Rebecca Seal (centre) with Childrens Heart Unit play specialists Karen Reid (left) and Vicky Woof.

Back row, left to right: volunteers Susannah Eckersley, Elaine Holdsworth, Michelle Lincoln, Rae Lowe and Sarah Greenhalgh. Front row, Rebecca Seal (centre) with Childrens Heart Unit play specialists Karen Reid (left) and Vicky Woof.

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A volunteering group have brought their successful fundraising to a close by handing over a cheque for more than £7,000.

Friends of CHUF, a volunteer organisation led by a groupd of North Tyneside mums, spent ten years raising money for various charities, latterly for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) through their nearly new baby, children’s and maternity wear sales.

And at the end of last year, the group brought an end to their fundraising with their final – and 40th – event at the Linskill Centre in North Shields.

Mum Rebecca Seal, and other committee members, handed over a cheque for £7,327 to the Freeman Hospital’s Children’s Heart Unit, the recipients of CHUF’s fundraising efforts.

She said: “We’ve been raising funds for CHUF for around five years now and have done five years of other charity sales before that.

“All the volunteers have older children who are growing fast and, with other demands on our time, we felt the time was right to draw things to a close.

“We have absolutely loved running the sales and want to acknowledge the support of everyone who has made them such a great success, particularly our sellers and buyers.

“We have met amazing people and will fully support CHUF in all the ways we can in the future.

“It was quite emotional for us to hand over the cheque in front of children we know will become the beneficiaries of the amazing support we’ve received. It was a pleasure to hand CHUF such a fantastic sum.”

Rebecca added: “When we first started the sales we raised money for a national charity but five years ago we started looking for a new local charity to support.

“A good friend of the committee had tragically lost their three day old son and the Freeman Hospital were vital in supporting the family so we had a strong leaning towards them.

“At around the same time we stumbled across a YouTube clip of fellow North Tyneside CHUF fundraiser Ivan Hollingsworth skiing down an alpine mountain in just a mankini! Inspired by his commitment we dedicated our efforts to supporting the charity.”

Ivan Hollingsworth, who is now a parent trustee for CHUF, saw his own son’s life saved soon after birth by the skill and dedication of those at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman.

He said: “What Rebecca, the committee and the volunteers have done is incredible.

“It’s and amazing sum that will make a massive difference to the level of care those poorly children receive.

“On behalf of CHUF, I’d like to thank them all for such amazing support over the years. They deserve our deepest gratitude.”