Hartlepool charity scoops two awards for Romanian campaign

Mick Sumpter and Eric Lennart Eriksson, preident of Star of Hope, (centre) at the opening of the children's centre.
Mick Sumpter and Eric Lennart Eriksson, preident of Star of Hope, (centre) at the opening of the children's centre.

A Hartlepool businessman picked up two awards on behalf of his charity dedicated to helping the people of Romania.

Mick Sumpter, who is trustee of Hartlepool charity ECHO (European Children’s Help Organisation), was delighted with the honours for the charity, which has been running for more than 20 years.

The launching of the children's centre in Botosani.

The launching of the children's centre in Botosani.

Mick said: “The awards are not just for me, but the charity as a whole.

“It is good to see the charity get recognition for the length of time we have been working in Romania.”

Mick travels to Romania at least twice a year to give his time and labour skills to support centres for children with Downs Syndrome and other disabilities.

And, during his latest visit, as well as picking up the awards, he helped open the latest centre, which is run by ECHO, for children with Downs Syndrome.

It is good to see the charity get recognition

Mick Sumpter

He said: “The centre is in a town called Botosani which is one of poorer regions of Romania.”

The first award was from the Mayor of Iasi, Mihai Chirica, for the work the charity has done in the city, which is in the east of Romania and has a population of just over 300,000 people.

Mick said: “The award was given to ECHO for their work with disabled and disadvantaged children in Iasi, which started in the early 90’s just after the revolution.

“Since then ECHO have been involved in a wide range of projects.”

Mick Sumpter, second left, being presented with an award from Mayor of Iasi, Mihai Chirica (centre).

Mick Sumpter, second left, being presented with an award from Mayor of Iasi, Mihai Chirica (centre).

Projects have included the renovation of a children’s cancer ward in the city’s main hospital and the renovation of an old school.

They have also worked with other groups on projects which help families while loved ones work abroad and helping children with HIV.

The second award was to recognise a 20-year partnership with an organisation called Star of Hope International, which originates from Sweden, and Mick was presented with this award from the group’s president, Eric Lennart Eriksson.

Eric also joined Mick in opening the children’s centre in Botosani.

Mick Sumpter, second left, helping cut the ribbon during the opening of a new centre for children.

Mick Sumpter, second left, helping cut the ribbon during the opening of a new centre for children.

The awards come just months after Mick, of MKM Building, was honoured with a Teesside Hero Award from the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

This was in recognition of his lifelong commitment to helping children’s charities, both locally and in Romania.

His efforts have helped to raise more than £200,000 in memory of his friend, Kay Smith, to support families affected by cancer, with the charity covering the salary costs of a children’s bereavement counsellor at Hartlepool’s Alice House Hospice.

He is also a trustee for Carlton Camp, a director of Hartlepool’s Stranton Academy Trust, chairman of the The Haven, a free and confidential counselling, information and support group for young people, a trustee of Hartlepool NDC Trust and co-ordinates the Mail’s Give a Gift appeal at Christmas.

Mick Sumpter being presented with an award from the President'of Star of Hope International, Eric Lennart Eriksson.

Mick Sumpter being presented with an award from the President'of Star of Hope International, Eric Lennart Eriksson.

Mick Sumpter director at MKM with Christmas presents for the Give a Little Gift Appeal.

Mick Sumpter director at MKM with Christmas presents for the Give a Little Gift Appeal.