Hundreds of children in the developing world will have life-changing operations, thanks to Bannatyne Health Clubs across the UK, including Bannatyne Coulby Newham, Ingleby Barwick, Darlington, Durham and Chester le Street.
Bannatyne Health Clubs held a host of fun events to help raise £31,794 to date with members and staff getting involved and embracing the charity and its objectives; £150 pays for a child to have a life-changing cleft operation.
Duncan Bannatyne, who is an ambassador of the charity, has recently visited Ghana with Operation Smile, following previous trips to Mexico and Vietnam to see for himself the life-changing work being carried out by the charity.
On his visits Mr Bannatyne has witnessed some of the operations first-hand and got to know many of the parents and children who the charity is helping.
Operation Smile is an international children’s medical charity with a presence in more than 60 countries, whose network of more than 5,400 medical volunteers from over 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided more than 240,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term self-sufficiency in resource poor environments, Operation Smile trains doctors and local medical professionals in its partner countries so they are empowered to treat their local communities. Operation Smile also donates medical equipment, supplies and provides year-round medical treatment through its worldwide centres.
Justin Musgrove, chief executive of the Bannatyne Group, said: “Duncan is a proud supporter of Operation Smile and every year the health clubs get involved in Smile Week to raise money and awareness of the charity.
“As always our members and staff came up trumps and took part in all manner of fundraising activities and we are delighted to have been able to make such a substantial contribution to a worthwhile and life-changing project.”
Karen Jaques, chief executive of Operation Smile UK, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to accompany Duncan and family on his third Operation Smile mission.
“Duncan gets so involved with the children and he is clearly so committed to helping those children who need our help. His kindness and generosity cannot be understated and we remain privilege to have Duncan as an Operation Smile Ambassador.”