Matthew’s fund calls is a day

jpco-1-5-13 Dominic and Bridgette Russo (Pic by Jon Rigby) ENGPPP00320130429104341
jpco-1-5-13 Dominic and Bridgette Russo (Pic by Jon Rigby) ENGPPP00320130429104341

A charity formed by the parents of a seven-year-old who died after choking at school has called it a day.

The Matthew Russo Foundation, launched by Dominic and Bridgette Russo, of Tilgate, raised more than £50,000 following their son’s death in September 2010.

Matthew, who was autistic, spent his seventh birthday on life support after choking at Manor Green Primary School last September. He died two weeks later.

The foundation’s fundraising efforts have included cake and book sales, a coat hanger collection at County Mall – where money was donated by the Mall for every coat hanger handed in by customers – and a Barn Dance every September on Matthew’s birthday.

In the first few months, the team raised £9,000 which they said at the time far exceeded their expectations.

The money kept adding up and in 2012, a total of £8,640.56 was raised; in 2013, the figure was £15,279.41; and in 2014 it was £16,508.72.

But things came to a halt last week when a message appeared on the charity’s Facebook page.

It read: “It is with deep regret and after a lot of thought that we have come to the decision to close The Matthew Russo Foundation.

“We would like to thank all of our past and present committee members and all of our supporters for their time, effort and inspiration in helping us to build this amazing charity in memory of our beautiful boy Matthew. Over the last four years we have been able to help over 50 children and raise over £50,000.”

Among the organisations to receive money from the foundation were Manor Green School, children’s bereavement charity Winston’s Wish and the Springboard Project, which caters for children and teenagers with disabilities.

The Matthew Russo Foundation has now closed its website and social media accounts.