Hundreds of children in the developing world will have life-changing operations, thanks to Bannatyne Health Clubs across the UK, including Durham, Ingleby Barwick, Coulby Newham, Chester le Street and Darlington, which have raised more than £1900 for Operation Smile.
Bannatyne Health Clubs across the UK held a host of fun events to help raise the money 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.
As part of its continued support of the charity, The Bannatyne Group also held a glamourous ball at its Hastings Hotel which brought the total raised across the group to more than £139,000.
Duncan Bannatyne, who is an ambassador of the charity, has recently visited Vietnam with Operation Smile, following previous trips to Mexico to see for himself the life-changing work being carried out by the charity.
Mr Bannatyne, says he found the experience “humbling and deeply moving”, when he travelled to Guadalajara in Mexico in 2013 with a team of volunteers from Operation Smile, who provided life-changing, safe and effective reconstructive surgery to 118 children born with this severe and debilitating condition.
On his visits to Mexico, Mr Bannatyne 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.
Scott Snyder, Executive Director of Operation Smile UK, said: “The support and events put on by Bannatyne members and staff over Smile Week has been quite simply phenomenal.
“Smile Week is a fantastic way to raise awareness for our charity and the money raised will change so many lives for the better. We hope this will become a regular fundraising event and hope it will grow year on year.
“The hundreds of people who took part in the many different events across the UK have helped to change countless children’s lives, for which we are incredibly grateful. We’d like to congratulate everyone who took part on raising such an amazing sum.”