Fundraiser a big success

Vinny Smith.
Vinny Smith.

A CHARITY night in memory of a former youth worker has been hailed a success.

The fundraising event, in memory of Hartlepool man Vinny Smith, was held at Owton Manor Social Club, in Owton Manor Lane, and raised £500, which will now be halved between Belle Vue Community Sports and Youth Centre, in Kendal Road, and to pay for a headstone on Vinny’s grave.

Popular Vinny, who was a youth care worker at the centre, took his own life last year aged just 27.

The charity bash is being held almost six months to the day he died, and the day before what would have been his 28th birthday.

One of the organisers Lisa Hockburn, 22, from Allerton Close, Hartlepool, said the event was a great success.

She thanked everyone who turned up and gave so generously, including those who gave raffle prizes, and the entertainment – town girl band The Peppermints and solo singer Sean Mac.

“It went really well and we raised £500,” said Lisa. “Everyone who was there really enjoyed themselves, It was brilliant.

“We’re going to split the money between Vinny’s headstone and the Belle Vue Community Sports and Youth Centre, which was a big part of his life.”

She added: “Vinny was well thought of by all his friends and family and this was a lovely tribute to him.”

An inquest at Hartlepool Coroner’s Court earlier this year concluded Vinny took his own life on Saturday, September 24.

He had called his mum, Muriel Turner, while he was standing in Seaton Lane, Hartlepool, in the early hours of the morning, to say goodbye and that he was about to end his life.

Police officers later found Vinny in a secluded area among trees.

As previously reported by the Mail, Vinny’s short life was fraught with challenges as he tackled disability due to an underdeveloped left leg, had spent time in prison, and spent three months in a coma in 2006 after being injected with a potentially lethal cocktail of drugs.