A charity born out of one family’s tragedy has raised more than £20,000 in the past year for disabled and seriously ill children.
The Matthew Russo Foundation was formed by Dominic and Bridgette Russo following the death of their seven-year-old son.
Matthew, who was autistic, died on September 29 2010, two weeks after choking on his food at Manor Green Primary School.
Dominic and Bridgette won the admiration and respect of the town when they channelled their grief into forming the foundation, which supports bereaved families and children with special needs.
Guests at the foundation’s AGM, which was held at St Wilfrid’s School, were told a total of £20,255.84 had been raised since April 2013.
The bulk of the money was used to help 24 children.
This year’s figure took the total raised by the foundation since it formed in 2011 to £41,664.79.
The AGM also saw the voting in of trustees and committee members and the study of the annual report.
Dominic said: “It was important for us to take time to celebrate what we’ve achieved in the last 12 months and make plans for the coming year.
“The money raised has meant we’ve been able to buy iPads, sensory equipment, specialised furniture, after school club funding and well deserved family breaks.”
For every £5 raised by the foundation, £3.76 has so far been donated – 75 per cent of the total funds.
Dominic added: “This is a remarkable achievement and shows how we are managing to maximise the value of every pound we raise for children or young people with disabilities or serious illness.
“We were delighted to hear from our friends at Springboard House in Crawley that the soft play room was fitted with ‘Matthew’s Mangle’ before their grand opening on April 26.
“We donated this piece of equipment to the project and staff at Springboard told us the mangle, along with other pieces sensory equipment, will make such a big difference to the children and families using the house.”
For more information about the Matthew Russo Foundation, log on to www.thematthewrussofoundation.org.uk
For more information about Springboard visit www.springboardproject.com