Back our Jack: Anonymous donor gives £1,000 to help South Shields boy get the home he needs

Jack Smith with his dad Mark.'Picture by Jane Coltman
Jack Smith with his dad Mark.'Picture by Jane Coltman

A mystery donor has given a £1,000 cash boost to a campaign to help make a disabled South Tyneside boy’s life easier.

Jack Smith’s family are trying to raise £20,000 to create a downstairs bedroom and bathroom at their Whiteleas home in South Shields.

We’re grateful to every single person who helps.

Debbie Patterson, Jack’s mum

The four-year-old has a number of medical conditions, including vision and hearing loss, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, after he suffered brain damage at birth.

However, as Jack grows it’s become more of a struggle for his parents Debbie Patterson and Mark Smith to carry him around the house.

They’ve received a £30,000 Government grant through South Tyneside Council – of which £8,000 has to be spent on fees and plans – but the extension will cost in the region of £50,000.

In a bid to help, the Gazette launched the Back Our Jack campaign last week and already a number of kindhearted readers have shown their support.

Since Thursday, £1,785 has been donated online and a further £280 has been handed in a the Gazette’s reception in Beach Road South Shields.

But on Saturday the family were left amazed when they discovered £1,000 had been donated by a stranger.

Debbie, a mental health nurse for the NHS, said: “Saturday night was raining and miserable, then we received the notification of the £1,000 donation.

“We couldn’t believe it that a total stranger could do this. We don’t know if it’s a business or just a very kind person, but we’re very grateful. We’re grateful to every single person who helps.

“I think people see we’ve been eligible for a grant, but many don’t realise £8,000 is spent on fees and the grant doesn’t cover the full cost of the adaptations.”

To donate, visit or call the Gazette on 0191 501 7447.