A charity launched by former Pools boss Colin Cooper following the death of his son has provided a welcomed boost for some of the region’s most disadvantaged children and their families.
The Finlay Cooper Fund, the charity set up by former Pools managed and Boro defender Colin Cooper and his wife Julie following the death of their son Finlay, has donated £35,000 to Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation towards the purchase and running costs of the eight-berth caravan near Filey.
Combined with a further £20,000 donated by a range of Teesside organisations and individuals, the Philanthropic Foundation now has the funds to run the caravan for the next two years.
The Foundation will now run two caravans at Reighton Sands to bring joy to some of Teesside’s least privileged children and families, giving them short breaks that would normally be beyond their financial reach.
The Foundation works closely with local charities, community groups and schools to identify families who would most benefit from the facility.
Families from Hartlepool, Billingham and other areas of Teesside are among those who have enjoyed a break at Reighton Sands Holiday Park over the past year.
Colin, who launched the Finlay Cooper Fund with wife Julie in memory of their son who died in a choking accident shortly before his second birthday, said: “We’d been looking for the right scheme to support – and this one is exactly the sort of project the Finlay Cooper Fund exists to help.
“It’s an inspiring idea that’s making a real impact for Teesside kids who most need a helping hand. It’s been heart-rending to learn of the poverty that some local children live in, so we’re just delighted to be able to help.
“As a small charity, we just don’t have the man power to run this kind of initiative ourselves, but we are thrilled to be able to join forces with the Philanthropic Foundation in such a brilliant way.”
Among those who generously contributed towards the further £20,000 boost towards the caravan breaks were Philanthropic Foundation patrons Active Chartered Financial Planners, Devereux Transport and Distribution, Mandale Group, Erimus Insurance Brokers, AV Dawson, PX Group, Ian and Adrienne Stark, Graham and Kerry Sizer, and Andy and Lizzie Preston.
Further generous donations came from local firms CJ Leonard & Sons, IWS Gaffney, Durata UK and Parker Barras, plus charitable group Boro Walkers Association and individual Paul Gibson.
The fully furnished three-bed caravan features double glazing, central heating and a disability ramp, while the holiday park includes direct access to the beach, an indoor swimming pool, outdoor lazy river, show bar, restaurant, nine-hole golf course, archery, mini golf and kids’ activities.