SHOPPERS have dug deep to help raise cash to bring a bereavement support service for children to the borough.
Customers at BHS, in Waterloo Square, South Shields, donated their spare change into a collection bucket in aid of Cruse Bereavement Care Tyneside.
The charity is being assisted by the Cruse Crew – made up of bereaved parents and friends – to raise £30,000 to bring its bereavement support service for youngsters to South Tyneside.
Currently, children have to travel to its base in High Heaton in Newcastle to access help.
The lack of bereavement support services for borough youngsters was raised by Davy Carr, from Cedar Drive, Jarrow, who struggled to find support for his two sons, Keelan, 18 and Ben, 10, following their mum Joanne’s death last year, aged 41.
Emma Robertson, from Fuschia Gardens, Hebburn, also struggled to find support for her three children, Caitlin, 10, Ben, nine, and Joe four, after their dad Gary died in 2012, aged 39.
Both families were eventually signposted to charity Cruse. Together, with Jean Costello, from Auckland Avenue, South Shields, whose son Stephen died in 2007, aged 22, and Alfie Leggett and Susan Clarkson, from Primrose Avenue, South Shields, whose nine-year-old son Jack died in December, they are hoping to raise the cash needed to bring the service to the borough.
A total of £422 was raised within two weeks of the charity bucket being made available to customers.
Ms Costello, who works at BHS, said: “I’d like to say a massive thank you to each and every customer who gave so generously, and to the girls who were fabulous bringing in cakes and books to sell.
“It really means so much to me as this cause is so important and people were really interested in what I had to say.
“It is such a huge amount that was raised in such a short space of time and every penny will be staying in the town to benefit our children and young people.” The families are being joined by friends Alana Vickers, Paul and Mandy Kirton, Rachel Little, the former Mayor and Mayoress Coun Ernest Gibson and Patricia Ridley and Shields Gazette staff Joyce Auty and Lisa Nightingale in their endeavour.
The campaign is also being backed by Hedworth Hall and OTTO restaurant, Asda and borough-based CE Sports.