Head coach and players attend key Foundation of Light event.
The Foundation of Light held its annual ‘Top Scorer’ event at the Stadium of Light on Thursday afternoon.
The event, which recognises special achievements of participants, was attended by Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio and members of the first team squad including Stephane Sessegnon, John O’Shea and Craig Gardner.
Also in attendance was Sunderland CEO Margaret Byrne, alongside fellow directors and club coaching staff whilst club legends Jimmy Montgomery and Kevin Ball were also celebrating the achievements of the charity based at the Stadium of Light.
Eighteen trophies were awarded over 15 categories including ‘Young Role Model’, ‘Improved Attitude’ and ‘Inspired Learner’ reflecting the broad range of programmes that the Foundation delivers.
Winners were a mix of ages with Primary and Secondary school youngsters honoured alongside adults and families.
Lesley Spuhler, chief executive at the Foundation of Light, was delighted with the way the afternoon went and was pleased to see further recognition for the Foundation’s diverse range of work.
“We work with 42,000 people every year so what we’ve done today is choose 15 stories out of 42,000,” Spuhler explained.
“What we’ve tried to do is show a range of what we do across the Foundation but obviously choosing worthy winners who’ve been on some sort of journey.
“Our smallest award was for a six-year-old and then of course we’ve got a family who won our family learning award who have been through a really traumatic time and have had to group together as a family and get through those times together.
“I think sometimes people see our programme, because its sports based, as not being particularly emotive but that’s because they don’t see the stories beneath that and what sport can actually do in bringing people together on a level playing field.”
She also went on to say how thankful the Foundation was to the club as a whole for their support, in particularly Di Canio and his players.
“As always the club is our biggest donor,” she added.
“The club looks after us, every manager we’ve ever had has been hugely supportive of this event and the players always love the little dribblers.
“It was fantastic again today to have the support of the directors, the club’s head coach, the team and the backroom staff.”