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Team Sunshine take on Tyne Bridge Zipline – back where we began nearly 100 years ago!

Hi Sunshine News readers,

We did it! Last Friday, we took a team of adrenaline junkies took on the Tyne Zipline with Jelly Legs Ltd and, despite the weather, we all completed it with smiles on our faces!

We had teams from local organisations such as Inspired Outsourcing, RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, Softcat and Zedra, as well as myself as I represented The Sunshine Fund repping our yellow Team Sunshine t-shirt!

We’d like to say a huge well done to our brave team for completing the challenge after queuing in torrential rain, and a massive thank you or their incredible fundraising achievements! As it stands, we have raised over £1,500 which will go a long way in improving the daily lives of local children living with disabilities, additional needs and terminal illnesses.

TEAM SUNSHINE: Before the Tyne Zipline

This could fund 10 mini scooters, which can help a child with developmental delays develop physical confidence and mobility skills, as a gateway to becoming more independent. It could fund 4 trampolines so children with sensory needs can help self-regulate and release excess energy in a fun, appropriate way, and be able to play in a comfortable environment.

It could fund 4 laptops or iPads to help children develop communication skills and progress their learning away from school. It could fund a Tomato Buggy which offers a lightweight, safely enclosed alternative to a wheelchair, opening up opportunities for children with mobility needs so they can join in on everyday activities.

ADRENALINE JUNKIES: Here are some of the team taking on the Tyne Zipline

This way my first fundraising challenge and it certainly won’t be the last! I signed up for the Sunshine Zipline as soon as we decided on the idea, without really thinking about my fear of heights… It wasn’t until I’d actually really thought about it whilst going over the bridge on the metro that I realised quite how high it was.

However, despite my fears, once I was up there with the rest of the team and with everyone cheering each other on, I managed to push myself and do it, and it truly was an incredible experience! That initial terror when you’re sat on the bridge about to push yourself off doesn’t compare to the glee you feel whilst you’re gliding down the river, taking in the most breathtaking views, and the feeling of accomplishment at the end is unmatched.

I kept thinking about how much our donations will help our Sunshine Children, and that was enough to get me through the anxious waiting at the top!

TEAM SUNSHINE: After the team completed the challenge

We spoke to a few of our fellow zippers to see how they found it. One of our trustees, Chris Whittington, said: “I managed to raise about £250 for the charity so I’m thrilled to bits. I set a target of £150 and said if I hit that I’d dress up as Batman, so someone clearly wanted to see me dressed up and that’s how I jumped off the Tyne Bridge! If you’re not involved in the charity, please do check it out, I’m pleased to be a part of it.”

SUPPORTERS: One of our trustees, Chris Whittington, and Sean Trevillion from Softcat

Sean Trevillion, from Softcat, learnt a lot about the work we do whilst we were waiting to jump and is keen to volunteer at some more of our events. He said, “The Sunshine Zipline was terrifying but I enjoyed it. All the money raised is going to go to a great cause, I’ve been hearing all about it today. It’s such a great charity and I’m glad I got to jump off a bridge (I guess!?) for a good cause!”

We also had a very special visit from Persimmon Homes, who attended our Sunshine Zipline to hand over a cheque following their recent, very generous donation of £5,000. Our Charity Director, Siobhan Sargeant, met with Debbie Zaben (Sales Director) and James Ballantyne (External Affairs Manager) to talk to them face-to-face about the impact this donation will have towards our charity.

Siobhan says, “We are exceptionally grateful for this donation and we want to thank everyone at Persimmon for supporting our charity in this way. As one of the longest running charities in our region, we are proud of the impact of the specialist equipment we provide and the family services we offer has on local families caring for children with additional needs.

"It is only with the support of corporate partners like Persimmon that we are able to continue to change the lives of children with life limiting and terminal illnesses.”

CHEQUE: Charity Director Siobhan Sargeant with Debbie Zaben from Persimmon Homes and the Mayor of Gateshead

This donation came after we applied for funding through Persimmon’s Community Champions scheme. The £5,000 will go towards living aids that are currently on our waiting list from our Spring equipment round which will include an adapted bed and specialist seating.

This can be used for functional use, to help children with postural needs develop core strength, work their bodies and keep them sitting upright, or to simply provide comfort, somewhere for a child to kick back and relax in safely.

The cheque was presented by Debbie Zaben, who says, “At Persimmon, we care about leaving a lasting positive legacy in the communities that we build in. The Chronicle Sunshine fund is a fantastic local charity that makes a huge impact in the lives of so many families across the North East, and we are delighted to be able to support them.”

We were also joined by the Mayor of Gateshead, who was keen to learn more about what we do at The Sunshine Fund. She said, “It was an honour to be able to attend the ziplining day and to see so many volunteers raising money for the Chronicle Sunshine Fund.

"The money from Persimmon’s Community Champions initiative will make a huge difference to the Sunshine Fund which is an amazing local charity that has been helping families for almost a century. The support it gives to children in our region living with disabilities and chronic/terminal illness can be life-changing so donations from businesses, such as Persimmon, is hugely beneficial by enabling them to help more young people and their families.”

This was the second of our summer events that pay homage to our charity’s roots. We began 95 years ago following a royal visit from King George V when he attended the official opening of the Tyne Bridge – so it only made sense to celebrate this milestone by jumping off it!

He donated £15 to facilitate a trip to the seaside so disadvantaged children could experience the North East coast, as he saw the deprivation of the area. Last week, we came full circle as we took some of our families to South Shields for a fully inclusive beach day. You can watch our video on the day here:

We’re so pleased that our summer events were a success and that all the hard work over the last few months were worth it, but there’s no rest at The Sunshine Fund as we move very swiftly on to all things Great North Run, which takes place in just over ONE week!

We have lots planned with our wonderful Great North Run sponsors, True Potential, and we look forward to sharing everything over the next couple of weeks. You can donate to our 2023 GNR campaign here:

Thanks for reading!





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