Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

OVERWHELMED BY WINDFALL; Charity's Joy at Secret Millionaire Visit

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

OVERWHELMED BY WINDFALL; Charity's Joy at Secret Millionaire Visit

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDY PASSANT

THE visit of a secret millionaire saw a charity receive a pounds 50,000 boost - but organisers say it was about much more than just money.

TV viewers last night saw charity Fairbridge Teesside, which helps to transform young lives, receive the gift from a generous stranger.

The Middlesbrough-based organisation, which helps vulnerable and socially excluded young people, received an unexpected cash injection from television show The Secret Millionaire.

The charity received a welcome windfall from undercover benefactor Sean Gallagher.

The IT recruitment boss's generosity benefited both Fairbridge and Middlesbrough-based epilepsy charity Abbie's Love in last night's Channel 4 programme.

Sean said: "What I have seen them do is nothing short of transformational."

The Gazette reported on Monday on the visit to Abbie's Love - which received pounds 75,000 and a pledge to match fundraising for this year - and now Fairbridge manager Wayne Mason said his charity had been "genuinely overwhelmed" by Sean's gift.

"It was brilliant," he said. "I had never seen The Secret Millionaire before and I had no idea what it was all about.

"They were so convincing with the cover story they had come up with.

"We were genuinely shocked when the end came.

"He is such a lovely fellow, we hope we can stay in touch.

"He is genuinely interested in what we do."

Wayne told the Gazette last year that the charity cost pounds 550,000 a year to run.

And he added both he and supporters were "eternally grateful" for the support Sean - who has pledged to stay in touch with Teesside - had given.

"He is unbelievably generous with his own money," Wayne added.

While the cash is important - and will make a huge difference - Wayne said it wasn't just about the money.

He added charity leaders hoped the programme would help to highlight their work - and perhaps change a few perceptions and attitudes. …

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