People urged to get behind Wrap for Jak project to help needy youngsters

Wrap for Jak ahead of Jak Fada first year anniversary. Family from left, grandmother Julie Bright, aunt Rhykia Fada, uncle John Fada, uncle Liam Fada, cousin Beth Carruthers and father Tony Fada
Wrap for Jak ahead of Jak Fada first year anniversary. Family from left, grandmother Julie Bright, aunt Rhykia Fada, uncle John Fada, uncle Liam Fada, cousin Beth Carruthers and father Tony Fada

A Christmas legacy in memory of a South Tyneside youngster is aiming to put smiles on the faces needy children.

Tony Fada has again organised a ‘Wrap for Jak’ in tribute to his 10-year-old son who died suddenly last year.

Ashley Tomlin with her son Jak Fada.

Ashley Tomlin with her son Jak Fada.

The youngster, who was a keen footballer, 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.

Still coming to terms with their deaths, Mr Fada, is channelling his grief into ensuring youngsters, who might otherwise have woken up to nothing on Christmas Day.

He said: “This has been the hardest year of my life. But doing something like this, giving something back to the community in my boy’s name and his mam’s, is giving me a purpose.

I now realise I have a purpose and that’s to keep Jak and Ashley’s legacy alive. And this is one way I’ll do this - and I’ll do it every year for as long as I can

Tony Fada

“Jak was such a selfless boy, he was always smiling and helping others. He would have loved all this.

“Last year, we had such great support and it was nice to know kids were opening presents which had been donated in my boy’s memory.”

He added: “After being in the darkest hole I had ever been in, something just clicked.

“I now realise I have a purpose and that’s to keep Jak and Ashley’s legacy alive. And this is one way I’ll do this - and I’ll do it every year for as long as I can.”

Last year, the family were overwhelmed by the donations of gifts for the cause and they hope people will once again be just as generous.

Once wrapped the gifts will be donated to Hebburn Helps, the Women’s Refuge and the teenager unit based in Tyne Dock.

He is being supported by Buzzers in South Shields and Richmond Taxis.

Tony said: “I just want to say a huge thank you to Brian Halcrow who owns Buzzers and Richmond Taxis for all their help and support. It means so much.

“Also to everyone who donated last year and took part in the Wrap for Jak, we’re hoping for an even bigger response this year.”

Angie Comerford from Hebburn Helps, said: “Once again, just a massive thank you to the family. They have managed to turn their pain into something positive which will help children this Christmas.”

Unwrapped toys can be dropped off at KirkPatrick’s, The Ship and Royal and Whitefeather House all South Shields and The Grey Horse in Boldon, until December 7.

However, anyone wishing to donate have until December 8 to drop gifts in to Buzzers where the gifts will be sorted and wrapped on that day.

Anyone who would like to volunteer their time to wrap gifts can drop in from noon.