Toni’s just the tonic for charity

Toni Parker-Harvey
Toni Parker-Harvey

A MUSIC school teacher has been praised for her tireless fundraising – and for helping a girl with a rare bone disorder to enjoy performing.

Toni Parker-Harvey, 24, has amassed nearly £10,000 for various causes in the last three years and said: “I just love helping other people.”

But her efforts have not gone unnoticed and now she’s been nominated for a Pride of Hartlepool award.

Among many nominees were Kelly Sanderson, the mother of Jasmine Sanderson, five, who said her daughter’s life had been transformed since she joined the Northern School of Music in Hartlepool where Toni is a senior vocal coach and performing arts teacher.

Jasmine is one of just a handful of people in the country suffering with Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva (FOP), a condition which causes bones to grow over tendons, ligaments, joints and muscles.

Kelly said: “Jasmine joined the performing arts group and its changed her life. She is a lot more confident. She was quite shy but this has made a big difference.

“She has an older sister Sienna who attends the performing arts class on a Sunday morning.

“I wasn’t sure that jasmine would be able to join the class, but Miss Toni and all the staff have been amazing. To have both girls attending the same class has really helped and its great Jasmine can be just like her big sister.”

Toni’s help for Jasmine has gone much further than just encouraging her to take part in performing.

She has also organised a series of fundraising events to gather money for FOP.

Kelly said: “She raised over £3,400 last year. FOP only effects one in two million people and for the first time last year family and friends of FOP patients have paid for two researchers at Oxford University.

“This could not be possible without people like Miss Toni.”

As well as FOP, Toni has also raised money for the NSPCC.

“But she said: “I certainly did not expect to get a nomination for an award. It is fantastic but it is overwhelming.”

Dozens of worthy causes have been nominated for the awards which is now closed for entries.

The process of choosing a shortlist in each of the 10 categories will start from next week.