How the memory of South Shields schoolboy Jak Fada is helping others this Christmas
Hundreds of youngsters at risk of waking up on Christmas Day with nothing to unwrap are in for a huge surprise thanks to the legacy of a South Tyneside schoolboy.
The family of Jak Fada turned their heartache into helping those in need in memory of the ten-year-old who died last November.
Together, with the support of people and businesses across South Tyneside they collected in hundreds of presents for children and young people of all ages.
Last week, the community came together at Buzzer’s Bar in South Shields to wrap up the gifts which were then handed to Hebburn Helps to distribute to families across South Tyneside.
Bags filled with presents were also handed to the women’s refuge and the teenage unit.
His dad Tony, who takes the lead on Wrap 4 Jak alongside his mum Julie Bright, said; “Last year our aim was to help 68 children but we helped a lot more. This year we were aiming for 120 and we absolutely smashed it. We had 120 bags packed with presents and hopefully next year it will be even bigger.
“It’s so hard to put into words but it’s all being done in Jak’s memory and I couldn’t be more proud, He has done more in his 10 years that I have done in 30.”
He added: “Jak was all about helping people, he was always worrying about others so doing something like this in his memory couldn’t be more perfect and sums up the kind of personality he had - totally selfless.
“I can’t thank everyone enough who donated presents, donated their time and supported the Wrap 4 Jak. It means so much to us all.”
Jak, who was a keen footballer and a huge South Shields Football Club fan, died of a ruptured heart artery within hours of complaining of chest pains.
Tragically, his mum Ashley Tomlin died a month later after she too suffered a ruptured heart artery.
Angie Comerford, who founded Hebburn Helps alongside Jo Durkin said: “We have been absolutely blown away by everyone’s generosity. We have so much love and respect for Jak’s family and we are so grateful. We were over the moon with what we received last year, but this year has surpassed that.
“It is brilliant and what they have done has helped us massively in helping to put the smiles on kids faces this Christmas.
“The family also handed over a couple of hundred pounds which has been used to buy turkeys for the families.”
Hebburn Helps provides help to struggling families through donations of food parcels, clothing, household items.
For information visit hebburnhelps.co.uk