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Funding boost for St Oswald’s Hospice

A popular pub in the North East of England is giving a financial boost to a charity whose fundraising efforts have been affected by COVID-19.

The Blackbird, at Ponteland, Northumberland, recently hosted the Great North Darras Run in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice, a charity which provides care for adults, children and babies with life limiting conditions. The 13.1 mile route around Darras Hall was organised by the charity’s senior chef David Taylor.

The £300 raised by David – who is also known as Dave ‘The Original Fridge Man’ Taylor for completing a number of half marathons with a fridge strapped to his back – was then doubled by the pub’s owner, Stuart Young.

Along with matching the donations made to David’s team of runners, Stuart has also added two of the hospice’s collection boxes to the Ponteland pub and sister venue The Northumberland Arms, at Felton.

Customers who arrive at either venue without a mandatory face mask and are given one by staff will be encouraged to make a voluntary contribution to the charity.

Stuart Young, of the Northumberland Pub Co, which owns both venues, is delighted to be supporting the hospice.

“Dave did a brilliant job of living up to his name by completing the Great Darras North Run while carrying a fridge on his back, so we were more than happy to double the total of the fundraiser,” said Stuart.

“Although the Great North Run couldn’t go ahead as it usually would, it is fantastic that so many groups are making the effort to plan their own versions so that charities don’t miss out this year.

“St Oswald’s Hospice is an incredible organisation and we hope our contribution can help them continue to deliver their vital services to those in the region who need it.”

The donation comes as the annual Ponteland Wheelbarrow Race, which starts and ends at the Blackbird and raises funds for St Oswald’s Hospice and Tynedale Hospice at Home, has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19.

Danielle Harvey, Events & Corporate Fundraising Manager from St Oswald’s said: “The Great Darras Run has been an extraordinary challenge.

“It’s been lovely to see the people of Ponteland come together and support each other, and St Oswald’s, once again and having Stuart from the Blackbird donate £300 to this challenge is such a generous offer.

“We want to say a huge thank you to everyone at the Blackbird for accommodating this challenge, helping Dave and the team fundraise and also for creating awareness about the hospice.

“It’s such a selfless act which will really help the patients and families using St Oswald’s Hospice right now.”