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Disney-trip treat for bereaved sisters

HELPING OUT ... Mecca Bingo Hall staff and customers have raised funds for Georgia, 16, and Emma McKean, nine, who are pictured receiving the cash from Mecca duty manager Tracey Peat. Also pictured, from left to right, are grandmother Maureen McKean, Robert Pascoe, Libby Ridley and Jaimee Ridley. Below, the late Wendy McKean.

HELPING OUT ... Mecca Bingo Hall staff and customers have raised funds for Georgia, 16, and Emma McKean, nine, who are pictured receiving the cash from Mecca duty manager Tracey Peat. Also pictured, from left to right, are grandmother Maureen McKean, Robert Pascoe, Libby Ridley and Jaimee Ridley. Below, the late Wendy McKean.

SISTERS Georgia and Emma McKean hope some Walt Disney magic will help them come to terms with the devastating loss of their beloved mum.

The girls were heartbroken after mum Wendy McKean lost her year-long battle with leukaemia last month at the age of 44.

Her death was particularly tough for nine-year-old Emma, a pupil at St Peter and Paul’s School at Tyne Dock, South Shields.

But now the town community has rallied to raise almost £4,000 to help send the sisters and other family members on a holiday to Disneyworld in Florida, US, this summer.

Ironically, it was a trip their mum, who lived in Heaton Gardens, South Shields, had hoped to make with them before her health deteriorated rapidly.

As part of the fundraising effort, the Elizabeth Ridley Foundation has donated more than £3,000 to the McKean family.

The foundation was set up by 18-year-old Jaimee Ridley, of Delaval Court, South Shields, who lost her mum to leukaemia in 2012.

And a further £600 was added to the holiday coffers after a fundraising night at the Mecca Bingo Hall, in South Shields, where Mrs McKean used to work.

Georgia, 16, who gave up her A-Level studies to care for her mum, said: “I became friends with Jaimee on Facebook.

“Her sister was the same age as Emma when her mum died and she talked me through the best ways to help her get through the loss.

“I can’t thank her enough for the support she’s given us.”

Georgia, who plans to take a health and social course at South Tyneside College, added: “Mum was bedridden by the end of her life and it was terrible to see her that way.

“This holiday is a chance to look forward to the future.”

Martin Webster, general manager at Mecca Bingo Hall, said: “Wendy was an amazing woman and a beloved member of the family here at Mecca.

“Her family have been through so much and we wish we could do more. Wendy will always be in our hearts.”

A total of £1,200 was raised on the night, with generous customers donating more than 150 gifts, including a £90 Barbour jacket, a £75 bottle of champagne and a plane tour over South Shields.

Half of the money raised went towards the holiday appeal, while Mecca South Shields is donating the remaining £600 to its charity partner, the Carers Trust.

Jaimee added: “I set up this foundation, not just to help families financially, but to help people with things they need to improve the quality of their life.

“I know there isn’t anything that can help the way Georgia and Emma feel, but this holiday to Florida is something they can at least look forward to.

“It shows that something nice can happen.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul

 

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