A charity launched by a big-hearted Hartlepool man is putting a smile on the faces of adults and children with life-limiting illnesses including those in town after raising more than £30,000 to date.
Fundraiser Kev Hill, 57, set up Bringing Back A Smile in February of last year which has raised almost £35,000 to pay for caravan breaks away and presents for sick children at home and in hospital.
The charity, which is supported by a number of dedicated volunteers, helps people all over the North East and has even branched out to North Yorkshire.
Among the children in Hartlepool they help include youngster Leyton Anderson who is battling acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Leyton, was diagnosed with the condition in November 2015 is due to finish a three-year course of treatment in March.
Tonight (Friday), Kev and charity supporter Les Watts hope to raise even more money with a fundraising night, featuring top tribute acts at Hartlepool Workingmen’s Club.
Kev, from Owton Manor and now lives near Bishop Auckland, previously worked with charity Miles For Men who he says are a fantastic organisation.
He said: “I’ve been involved in raising funds for kids probably most of my life.
“Over the last five years I have concentrated on it a lot more. I decided I wanted to go full time and help as many adults and children with life threatening illnesses as I possibly could.
“I started Bringing Back A Smile in February last year. Things have gone very quickly from when we started to where we are now.
“The support has been fantastic; local people and businesses have really got behind us and helped make a big difference to people’s lives.
“We recently donated £1,500 to a little boy in Chester-le-Street to go to Lapland in December.
“And we have now branched out to North Yorkshire with a charity team there.” Other local children the charity has been there for include Daisy Sayers aged four from Peterlee who has just been diagnosed with leukaemia.
And the charity raised £1280 to help Rebecca Henderson from Billingham, who has fought cancer, to have a wonderful Christmas with her brother Jake and parents Tracey and Paul and visit the Harry Potter studios in London.
Bringing Back A Smile are staging a Legends Show at Hartlepool Workingmen’s Club, on King Oswy Drive, on tonight at 7pm.
Tom Jones tribute singer Andy Wood who is flying in from Benidorm will perform as well as the highly-rated Elvis tribute Niall Southall.
Well-known Hartlepool DJ and compere Les Watts is lending his support.
Kev added: “This is probably one of our biggest shows that we have brought to Hartlepool.
“Both artists are probably the two best tribute acts around.
“We very much appreciate Les’s support.”
Tickets for the night are £10 from Kev on 07951 113600, Les Watts on 07863 559706 or ask at the club.
For more information about Bringing Back A Smile see their website www.bringingbackasmile.co.uk