Another ice-cool idea from Bob

A WACKY fundraiser who has raked in thousands of pounds to bring a “winter wonderland” to a former mining village is organising a charity night to make the event even bigger.

Sixty-year-old chimney sweep Bob Waite will host an evening of entertainment at Blackhall Navy Club, in East Street, to boost funds for an event that will see an ice rink brought to Blackhall.

Not content with already collecting £3,500, including sponsorship from a 60-mile bike ride along the length of the River Wear, he and his daughter Gayle, 34, and nephew David Boyd, 23, completed in May, he now wants to raise even more money for extra entertainment to complement the mobile ice rink.

Big-hearted Bob, of Arnold Avenue, Blackhall, said: “We’ve raised enough for the ice rink, but I’ve had more ideas and am trying to make it bigger and better.

“We want a brass band to close the event on the Sunday night and I want to put some food on, like hot pork sandwiches, and we need to pay people for that.

“I just want to bring a smile to people’s faces in Blackhall this Christmas.

“I envisage this idea in my head of what I hope it’s going to be like, people skating round with pom-pom hats on and scarves.

“Even if it’s not snowing, we can make snow happen with the machine that comes with the rink.”

When asked if he would be taking to the ice, the grandfather-of-three said: “Too right I am!”

Bob hopes to get Trimdon Colliery Brass Band on board, and for Reverend George Liddle, of the village’s St Andrew’s Church, to say prayers and wish visitors a Happy Christmas at the two-day event, which will run on December 10 and 11 at Blackhall Community Centre, in Hesleden Road.

Bob, who is married to Denise and dad to Gayle Waite, 34, and Tracey Coverdale, 35, has previously taken part in various crazy charity schemes.

These included a parachute jump for Horden man Dick Graham’s Schools for Gambia charity and “The Darwin Experience”, which saw him and Gayle kayak from Hartlepool to Crimdon in 2009 and from Seaham Harbour to Hartlepool’s Heugh Breakwater and back last year to raise money for Peterlee Lions and the RNLI.

But Bob, a member of the Peterlee and District Lions Club, is hosting a more conventional fundraising evening, which takes place from 7pm on September 29.

It will feature a singer, a comedian, magician and dancers from East Durham College, in Peterlee.

Tickets for the variety night, costing £5 and including a broth and stottie supper, are available from Bob on (0191) 5865809 or the navy club on (0191) 5863892.