Stage stars join South Shields schoolboy as he crosses the line of his Customs House cash challenge
A boy who has walked his way to help his favourite theatre has crossed the finishing line – with his stage star friends by his side.
Nine-year-old Stephen Idle pushed his walker over the spot outside the Customs House, which will benefit from more than £2,000 of funds raised through sponsorship.
The Bamburgh School pupil, who lives in South Shields, has cerebral palsy and has been collecting donations from backers after walking to his corner shop and back.
He did his last walk outside the Mill Dam venue before a crowd of supporters and was joined by his family, as well as panto stars Arbuthnot, Dennis and Sniffy, while he wore his own version of their stage outfit made by his gran Sandra Scott, 64.
He was congratulated by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Norman Dick and Jean Williamson.
Stephen’s total has now topped more than £2,000, with the Custom’s House executive director Ray Spencer saying the team plans to honour his achievement by displaying a gold star bearing his name in the building.
The event comes in the wake of concerns earlier this week that the Customs House will face making redundancies as it fights for survival as cultural venues across the country face financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ray said: “This was exactly what the community needed, a positive event to make people feel good and they have responded to.
"Stephen was a star, people turned out to see him, the fire service and South Shields Volunteer Life Brigade came down and put their sirens on, and people came with their banners and staff from Bamburgh School were on the route, we probably had about 100 people down, which was super.
"He absolutely loved it and had a big broad smile across his face.
"I think this is why we will survive because people care and we matter to the people of South Tyneside and want to be part of this joy.”
Stephen’s mum Helen Scott, 39, added: “We’re really proud.
“It’s just absolutely amazing and it’s been a very emotional day.
"We knew people would come down, but it was great to see so many.”
Donations can be added to his total by visiting https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HelenScott39.