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19 June 2020

Our hero: KEY2Life food bank commends charity champion James

Local lad James Hutton, 23, has been applauded after completing a 7-day charity challenge during lockdown, raising hundreds of pounds for the KEY2Life Food Bank.

Caring James, who has athetoid cerebral palsy, took on the 100-rep challenge of a different physical activity, in a different coloured t-shirt, each day over the course of a week, to raise much needed funds for his local food bank.

He has bounced, marched, danced; performed sit-ups, push-ups and step-ups and generally pushed himself to the limit, raising an amazing £1,480 so far, thanks to the support of generous family, friends, neighbours and his dad Colin’s colleagues at Lookers Ford South Shields.

Proud mum, Debbie, explained “James had been in lockdown for nine weeks and was starting to struggle with aches and cramps in his legs, so we decided to devise a week’s plan to keep him motivated and moving. Initially this was just a week of activities to pass the time and then people started to ask if they could sponsor him and it just escalated.”

James is non-verbal and uses British Sign Language for communication, but it was all his own idea to support his local foodbank “to help children with no food”. As the total raised has exceeded the family’s expectations, it will be split between the KEY2Life food bank in South Shields and The Salvation Army food bank in Southwick.

Debbie handed over the donation to KEY2Life, on behalf of James, earlier in the week and is looking forwarded to being invited back for a tour of the food bank facility at Boldon Lane Library and to find out more about the work of Churches Together once the current coronavirus crisis has ended.

Jo Benham Brown, Business and Community Development Manager at KEY, said “James is an inspiring example to us all; his parents, Colin and Debbie, must be bursting with pride, this is a fantastic achievement and we really cannot thank him enough. KEY2Life is the longest running food bank in South Tyneside, open every weekday 10am-4pm, and over the last few months, we have seen unprecedented demand for our services. With referrals up 300% on the same period last year, it is a struggle to keep pace with demand and we are so very grateful for the support we have received from the public, both in terms of donations, food and financial, and all those who fundraise on our behalf.”

To donate directly to the KEY2Life food bank visit keyproject.org.uk/donate