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Christmas is coming!

Hi Sunshine news readers,

Here is an advanced warning that this is an action-packed column today after a phenomenal weekend of fundraising, with the announcement of our Christmas events (finally!).

On Friday, we celebrated the long-awaited return of our annual ball which we can safely say was well worth the wait!

Together with our partners St James’ Square Law Firm, our Noche del Sol ball was a huge success, and it was wonderful to see so many new and familiar faces.

This year we had several of our families join us which was truly special after such a long period of time of not seeing them.

The highlight of the night for us was seeing 11-year-old Freya’s artwork sell for £1,700 in a bidding war in our final auction lot.

Freya has Charge Syndrome and is visually impaired and so used her Sunshine Fund funded CCTV system to enlarge the image to colour it.

Thank you to everyone who donated, attended, and supported us in making this event one to remember.

On Sunday night, we had our spooktacular stayover with Stagecoach at Chillingham Castle, which was another sensational evening.

The castle spirits were relatively kind to us on the night as it was quiet overall, however a few chilling encounters were enough to make our hairs stand on end!

The drivers who took part all went above and beyond in their fundraising, so we’re super excited to announce a total very soon.

Now that we’re well into November and everywhere seems to have embraced the joy of the season, it only seems right that we announce our Christmas activities for the year!

In previous years, you may remember our Santa’s Grotto bus with Stagecoach, usually situated on Grey Street, however this year we’re taking the bus on the road for four days, which will enable us to spread accessible and inclusive Christmas cheer to as many local children as possible.

As so many North East children living with disabilities and additional needs are unable to access many grottoes and Christmas activities because of their needs, we have dedicated two of these days to ensure that families can visit us free of charge and judgement.

We are working in collaboration with schools, local organisations, and other charities for these dates.

We will however be spreading the joy to all as the bus visits Tesco Extra at Kingston Park on Friday, November 26 (10am-6pm) and the Killingworth Centre on Sunday, November 28 (10am-4pm).

No booking is required for either these dates and whilst we will be fundraising on the day, visiting Santa is free of charge as we want every child to have the opportunity to have this experience.

Karen Colley, community champion from Tesco Extra Kingston Park said: “Tesco Extra Kingston Park is at the heart of the community, and we are thrilled to be a part of this event, offering some Christmas magic to families.

"We are particularly proud to be welcoming the children from our local schools and hope

that everyone has a wonderful time.”

Our loyal troop of Stagecoach drivers will also be collecting on their buses throughout December to help us raise even more funds this Christmas.

And finally, we will be celebrating our annual Christmas Jumper Day on Friday, December 10 and so welcome everyone to take part! Please contact Erin Todd if you would like to take part and be sent more information.

Phew, that was a lot, but we hope you’re as excited as we are!

Lauren x