Comedian Jason Manford has inspired a £5,000 success for a Teesside charity dedicated to supporting teenage cancer sufferers.
Butterfly Giving received nearly half of the 33,000 votes cast to easily top Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation’s £20,000 Golden Giveaway poll to seal a £5,000 prize ahead of 14 other local community projects, charities and schools.
The result followed a late surge in support for the charity after its founder, 20-year-old student Hannah Larkin, asked Manford for his support, resulting in him asking his social media followers – totalling well over ONE MILLION – to vote for Butterfly Giving.
A delighted Hannah, from Coulby Newham, said: “Contacting Jason was a last shot in the hope of getting some publicity, even if it won us just 20 more votes. I couldn’t believe the reaction. Thousands of votes poured in overnight and I received some lovely comments from his social media followers.
“It felt fantastic to win £5,000 for the charity, as anything to help would have been enough. I’m so grateful to Jason and his supporters.”
The money will go towards “Boxes of Sunshine”, packed full of goodies to bring a little cheer to teenagers affected by a cancer diagnosis.
Hannah, who runs the charity with family whilst studying for a degree in Biomedical Science at the University of East Anglia, was just 15 years old when she set up Butterfly Giving, inspired by a friend, George Soars when he had a leg amputated after being diagnosed with cancer at a very young age.
The rest of the Golden Giveaway cashpot has been shared between charities and community projects across Redcar, Stockton, Middlesbrough, Ingleby Barwick and East Cleveland.
A special Golden Giveaway presentation event at the Middlesbrough College STEM Centre saw Hannah receive the £5,000 cheque from Stephen Downing of Stockton company PASS, of Stockton.
The Foundation’s patrons also made the following presentations:
• Remembering Rebecca – Joanne Fryett of Middlesbrough Football Club presented £2,500 for trips out for the siblings of disabled children with life-limiting conditions.
• Cleveland Mountain Rescue Team – Emily Bentley of Evolution Business and Tax Advisors presented £2,000 for new casualty care equipment for the volunteer team.
• Grangetown Netball – Jayne Stephenson presented £1,500 for kit and equipment for club featuring 200 players and coaches.
• Swift-Tees – Alisdair Beveridge presented £1,500 for leadership and coach training for running club with more than 200 members.
• Scoil Rince I Muir – Elaine Bunn of Nortech Group presented £1,000 towards costumes and shoes for Irish dancers in Thornaby and Coulby Newham.
• Rosebrook Primary School ASD Hub – Foundation chairman Andy Preston presented £1,000 for outdoor play equipment for children with autism.
• The Junction Foundation – Nigel Willis of First Choice Labels presented £1,000 for activities for young carers across Middlesbrough and Redcar.
• North Ormesby Over-50s Club – Ian Stark presented £750 for trips out for the young at heart.
• JUST (Juggling & Unicycling Stockton-on- Tees) – Keith Miller of Ecco Finishing Supplies presented £750 towards teaching amazing circus skills to local people.
• St Joseph’s Primary Academy – Nigel Willis of First Choice Labels presented £750 for healthy eating cookery classes for Loftus pupils and parents.
• Stamp Revisited – David Carter of Carter Steel presented £750 towards training volunteer advocates to support those recovering from mental health, alcohol or other issues.
• Kinship Carers Middlesbrough – David Carter of Carter Steel Ltd presented £500 towards a Butlins holiday for 30 children and grandparents who care for them.
• Ladies of Steel – Gary Dawson of AV Dawson presented £500 for day trip and youth club equipment for Dormanstown kids.
• Route 2 My Sisters Place – Elaine Bunn of Nortech Group presented £500 to work with men who have been the perpetrators of domestic violence.