Raising a glass to generosity

A GLASS has been raised to toast the kind-hearted efforts of a pub landlady, her son and their regulars in helping to boost a cancer charity.

Regulars from the New Inn pub, in Durham Street, on Hartlepool’s Headland, have raised £750 for the town-based Kay Smith Fund.

The fund was created in memory of Hartlepool woman Kay Smith, who died in January 2006 aged just 37 after a year-long battle against breast cancer and has raised around £150,000 in the seven years since.

The money was raised after three events were held at the pub over the Christmas period and it will go towards the Kay Smith Fund counsellor, a bereavement worker based at Hartlepool & District Hospice, and resources for the associated children’s bereavement service.

The events were a football card night, an auction of unwanted Christmas gifts and Josh Watson, 16-year-old son of pub landlady Christine Watson and a student at Hartlepool College of Further Education, having his shoulder-length hair shaved off.

The pub has been raising money for various good causes over the past 10 years, raking in on average £500 for organisations including Hartlepool & District Hospice, Macmillan Cancer Support and Help For Heroes.

Pub regular Terry Cornforth, of Durham Street, played a major part in the fundraising and suggested that the Kay Smith Fund be the recipient of the latest round of charity cash.

But this is the first time the pub has received recognition for their charity efforts after representatives from the Kay Smith Fund approached the Mail to spread the word about their generosity.

Christine, who is married to Peter and also mum to Lyndsey, Darren and Lauren Watson and has ran the pub for 10 years, said: “It started off with a few football cards and then my son decided to get his hair shaved off on the Sunday before Christmas and he raised £200 through that. He had been growing it for the past three years and for the last two years I was saying ‘please get your hair cut’ but he said ‘no way’.

“Then when Terry suggested he do it for charity, straight away he said yes and the Kay Smith Fund is a worthy cause.”

She added: “I’d like to thank all our customers.

“We couldn’t do it without them.”

Kay Smith’s sister Tracey Cafferkey, who accepted the cheque on behalf of the fund, said: “We are very grateful for what they have done.

“It is only a small pub so what they have achieved in those three fundraising events has been marvellous really.

“I think they should get some thanks.”