Joy as social club donates £3,500 to town worthy causes

A Crawley sports and social club surprised worthy causes with more than £3,500 of donations.

The Rams Sports & Social Club gave cheques to a homeless shelter, a father’s fundraising efforts to buy his son prosthetic legs, children’s community nursing team and charities that help people with special needs and families affected by dementia.

Crawley Open House, Crawley Hospital’s children’s community nursing team, The Matthew Russo Foundation, The Ryan Brand Foundation and Outreach 3 Way representatives collected £501 cheques.

The Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Brenda Smith, received £1,001 for her chosen charity, The Alzheimer’s Society’s Crawley services.

Cllr Smith, whose husband Jim has the disease, said: “Their whole aim is to raise the profile to take away the fear and stigma and to show people can live well with a dementia diagnosis and the groups that are running here are achieving exactly that.”

The Matthew Russo Foundation raises funds for local charities that support children with special needs and organisations that support families through bereavement.

Matthew Russo, who was autistic, died aged seven after a choking accident at Manor Green Primary School four years ago. His parents set up the foundation.

Nick Mercado, his uncle and the foundation’s treasurer, welcomed the gift and said: “This would definitely benefit someone local.”

Ryan Brand, 14, of West Green, was born with spina bifida and chose to have his legs removed after doctors told him an infection, which set in after he stepped on a nail, was incurable.

His father Matthew set up the Ryan Brand Foundation to raise funds to buy his son prosthetic legs which would allow him to run.

The club’s donation left Ryanspeechless and Matthew, who hopes to turn the foundation into a charity for amputee children to achieve their sporting dreams, said the thousands of pounds townspeople have given to the appeal over 2014 was the true meaning of Christmas.

Charlie Arratoon, director of Crawley Open House said the gift was fantastic and would go towards the shelter’s minibus fund. The minibus would be used to transport homeless people to shelters in the winter months.

Chris Morris, of the community nursing team, said the money would go towards training nurses who keep children out of Crawley Hospital by treating them in their homes.

Outreach 3 Way supports people with learning difficulties. It is based in Ifield and part of national charity Dimensions. The Rams Sports & Social Club is based in Ifield Avenue, West Green.