Fundraising target broken

Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Stephen Akers-Belcher   with Chair Bear and  Oliver Bell from the Bishop Cuthbert area
Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Stephen Akers-Belcher with Chair Bear and Oliver Bell from the Bishop Cuthbert area

SEVEN charities are in line for a major funding boost after a council chief’s fundraising campaign smashed its £14,000 target – six months ahead of schedule.

Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher is raising cash during his year as chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council to help boost the coffers of several good causes in town.

He held his Chairman’s Dinner on Friday night which raised a mammoth £7,000, meaning the fundraising campaign has already reached the £15,000 mark.

The black-tie do at the Grand Hotel, in Swainson Street, was attended by 167 people and featured an Adele tribute act, a four-course dinner and a string quartet.

All the money raised this year will go to seven local charities which Coun Akers-Belcher has chosen to support during his year as chairman.

They are The Belle Vue Youth Project, Central Correctors, Hartlepool Young Carers, NYPD (Nurturing Young People’s Development), The Phoenix Funsters, The Rifty Youth Project and The Wharton Annexe.

Coun Akers-Belcher said: “The response from people has been phenomenal and to have raised about £15,000 already is a fantastic achievement, especially in times like these.

“People are suffering a lot of hardship, but they have shown their support and I have been really overwhelmed by their kindness.

“The Chairman’s Dinner was a really good night and raised about £7,000, which means the target for the year has already been reached.

“There was such a demand for tickets that we could have sold out twice over and I am arranging another one for April next year.”

That event will be called Chairman Goes Ga-Ga and will feature a Lady Ga-Ga tribute act.

Coun Akers-Belcher thanked Wynyard Park for sponsoring the Chairman’s Dinner which meant all of the money raised from ticket sales and a raffle on the night will go to the charities.

He added: “The money for the various charities will be a big help for them.”

As well as the Chairman’s Dinner there has also been a pie and peas supper, a family fun day, a race night and coffee morning.

Chair Bear, the lifesize teddy bear mascot for the year, has also been out and about raising cash for the good causes selling his own special limited-edition Chair Bear charity badges for £1 each.

Coun Akers-Belcher thanked Labour councillor Paul Beck and his wife Mary for helping to organise events the Chair Bear events.