All aboard ... crews get USA go-ahead

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TWO dance crews from Hartlepool WILL compete in a world championships after a massive fundraising drive to get them to America.

The Mail told last month how Zac Healey, from Hartlepool, needed to raise £15,000 to get town crews Ruff Diamond and their junior outfit Lil Diamondz to the world finals of a hip hop event at the Red Rock Hotel, in Las Vegas, from Wednesday, July 27, to Monday, August 1.

The campaign to raise the cash only began a month ago but so many people and companies responded and more than £11,000 has already been raised.

That is enough for Zac to book the flights for all the dancers.

He said: “It has been a terrific effort to raise £11,500 in a month. We would like to thank the public of Hartlepool for the tremendous support so far and to everyone who has come forward with ideas and put their spare change in one of our fundraising buckets.”

Zac still needs to find more money to cover hotel costs and the competition entry fee.

“We still have to raise £4,000 before July 21 to pay for accommodation and entry into the World Hip Hop Championships. Both crews will be performing at the Seaton Cricket Club funday on Sunday.

“Both crews will also be performing in the Middelton Grange Shopping Centre on Saturday, July 16, from noon. We would massively appreciate any support we could get at these events. We will be out with our fundraising buckets.”

Zac added: “Everything has gone really well. We have had a load of interest from local business and it means we are definitely going to the worlds.

“We have been getting cheques for £1,000 from some firms and others have donated all sorts of things. Tesco has donated raffle prizes and Orange gave us a phone.”

Crew members of the crew also did their own fundraising which included a sponsored walk, fundraising nights and performances by the crews at events in the Hartlepool area.

Zac runs the hip-hop academy, Urban Rockz, in Hartlepool, where both crews are based.

 The Ruff Diamond crew, made up of 13 to 17-year-olds, were runners-up in last year’s UK event and performed well at last year’s world championships.

 Lil Diamondz, is made up of dancers under 13 and they will be performing at Las Vegas for the first time.

 Zac wants to thank everyone who backed the fundraising campaign including:

l Fens Primary School, Eldon Grove Primary School, Kingsley School and Throston School for inviting Zac in to teach street dance in return for donations.

l Natalie Grieg and Tesco for their raffle prize donations.

l Joanne Tweddle and Asda which also donated prizes for a raffle.

l Business sponsors including E.H.L. UK, Clevestone Transport, Tata Steel UK, Allen Plant Hire, John Boyd Ltd, Applied Safety Solutions and Sprayplant UK.