Sound Training, the North East Small Business of the Year, ran a series of fundraising events during 2016 to raise £15,000 for Teesside’s poorest kids – culminating in a 1920s-style dinner and a team of 14 running the New York City Marathon.
The Sound Training team raised the cash in aid of the Schools Hardship Fund, set up by the Foundation to work with schools to provide vital support to some of the least privileged families and children across Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Hartlepool.
As part of the fundraising efforts, Sound Training held a Great Gatsby-themed 1920s night at Acklam Hall, which raised more than £5,000 to put them on course to beat their £15,000 target.
The event included talks by Middlesbrough-based international athlete Matty Hynes and head teacher Bernadette Rizzi-Allan about the importance of the Schools Hardship Fund.
Sound Training directors Katy Parkinson and Claire Preston will also be cooking a four-course meal for 10 – including washing up! – after offering their services in an auction that was won, at £830, by Middlesbrough businesses Viral Effect, 90SecondStory and Eighty8 Design.
For the marathon, Sound Training colleagues were joined by sister-in-law Lisa Preston and Jordan Clayton from Hunters Teesside Estate Agents, who, as patrons of the Foundation, already donate 5% of their annual profits to the charity.
Also joining them were Jonathan Lowes, achievement leader and teacher at Middlesbrough’s Acklam Grange School, Maryssa O’Connor, principal of Stockton’s North Shore Academy, and Marie Dutch from Sound Training partner school, Oaks Park High School in Ilford, as well as three friends.
It was the second time Claire and Lisa had tackled the 26-mile run through the streets of Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn and Harlem, finishing in Central Park, but the rest of the team made their marathon debuts – some having hardly run at before starting their training.
The idea was the brainchild of Claire, who combined the fundraising marathon by working with the UK Trade & Industry office in New York to build on her company’s US successes while there.
Having already provided its ground-breaking training scheme to children in more than 500 schools across the UK, Sound Training has enjoyed a US breakthrough in California, Florida and Maine over the past 12 months.
Claire said: “The dinner was a great success and we thank everyone who helped for their generosity for such a special cause.
“The marathon was an amazing experience for all of us. Not only was it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of the team but we did it in the knowledge that we were raising funds for Teesside children who most need our support.
“The Schools Hardship Fund touches the hearts of everyone who hears about it because there really are some Teesside children who live in poverty; it’s that thought that drove us on when the going got tough.
Those taking part in the New York City Marathon were Sound Training’s Claire Preston, Sarah Earl, Lisa Parkinson, Emma Craig, Michelle Hicks, Marcela Willis and Lisa Preston and Jordan Clayton of Hunters Teesside, Jonathan Lowes of Acklam Grange School, Marie Dutch from Oaks Park High School in Ilford, friends Laura Abadia-Requeno of British Airways, Grant Tuer, Calum Dearlove and Trevor Bosomworth. They were supported in New York Katy Parkinson, Sarah Williamson and Charlie Parkinson.