Great North Dog Walk founder Tony Carlisle has become an ambassador for support group Waves, which supports young people with needs including autism, learning difficulties and other disabilities.
Mr Carlisle was asked by the group, based at the Bilton Hall CIO centre, in Low Simonside, to come on board and help raise their profile.
The former teacher’s experience in raising millions of pounds for charities over the last 43 years made him a fitting advocate for the group and his role will see him help Waves with their own fundraising drive.
The group aims to provide a place where children and young people up to the age of 25 and their siblings can take part in activities.
It also provides a place where their families can receive support, advice and guidance.
Dad-of-three Mr Carlisle said his new role was a result of the Best of South Tyneside Awards held last month, where he received the Lifetime Achievement honour.
He said: “Waves were at the Best of South Tyneside Awards and when they saw me go up on the stage for my award, the conversation was; ‘does anyone know Tony?’
“One of the parents there said that she knew me from dropping the girls off at school.
“I was then asked by them if I would be an ambassador for Waves.
“I was just bowled over and went down with my wife Nicola and three girls, Summer, Toni and Taylor-Skye, to visit the group as they were celebrating their first anniversary.
“The Mayor, Coun Ken Stephenson, and Mayoress Cathy Stephenson were there and when I told Coun Stephenson that I had been asked to be an ambassador he said that I would be a great ambassador.”
Tony continued: “Waves is a fantastic organisation.
“When I was there every one of the children had a smile on their face.
“I am thrilled and proud to be a part of them.
“Being an ambassador is something that I have always wanted to do, so I am really proud.”