Football legend Gazza presents cheque to South Tyneside charity after businessman fulfils his guide dog quest

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A South Tyneside businessman’s quest to raise cash to fund a guide dog for the blind has been fulfilled.

Tony Singh launched a £5,000 fundraising campaign at New Year in aid of charity Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Tony does a lot to help a other good causes in South Tyneside but this one was personal to him, it meant a lot to him.

Carl Mowatt

He hoped to raise the cash needed to pay for the training and sponsorship of a puppy that would then go on to support a person who had lost their sight.

The businessman who owns a string of venues in South Tyneside chose the charity after he experienced first hand the loss of sight when he suffered an allergic reaction to treatment for an eye infection two years ago.

His temporary blindness lasted six weeks. His quest was further enhanced following the death of Andy Briggs - the father of one of his customer’s who also experienced blindness in his later years.

The cash was raised through a raffle at New Year, the running efforts of Hedworth Hall manager Carl Mowatt who took on the gruelling 27-mile Northumberland marathon course in a bid to raise cash to pay for a guide dog, and money donated by Mr Singh himself.

A cheque was presented to the charity by Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne during the football legend’s recent visit to the Hedworth Hall where he was hosting a sportsman’s dinner.

Next week, Mr Singh is expected to meet the puppy which he has chosen to name Deva.

Mr Mowatt said: “The support we’ve received since Tony said he wanted to do this has been fantastic. We’ve had a lot of support from our regular customers, friends and families.

“Tony does a lot to help a other good causes in South Tyneside but this one was personal to him, it meant a lot to him.

“Running the marathon to help further boost the funds was a personal pleasure of mine also.”

Mr Mowatt added: “Having Gazza here for a sportsman dinner, we thought it was an ideal time to hand over the cheque and it was something he had agreed to do previously before the night.”

The Hedworth Hall is set to continue its support of the charity and is currently arranging an awareness day to take place on June 7.

The event aims to raise awareness of the charity and volunteering opportunities available.

For details on Guide Dogs for the Blind visit www.guidedogs.org.uk