Birthday present is gift of life


A £30,400 birthday gift will provide ‘many happy returns’ for thousands in the developing world.

More than two thousand lives will be saved by the fundraising efforts of Northumbrian Water. The utility was a founder member of its adopted international charity, WaterAid, which has been formed for three decades this year.

The charity provides safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people in 26 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.

To celebrate WaterAid’s thirtieth birthday, the water company organised a glittering ball which was enjoyed by around 400 people from across the North East.

Kind-hearted supporters of the life-saving organisation raised a whopping £27,400 at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead Hotel. Vital funds were raised by the sale of tickets to attend the function, silent and live auctions, a raffle, tombola and a balloon sale.

It costs only £15.00 to provide a child with the basic human rights of safe water, access to a toilet and hygiene knowledge that will prevent them from becoming ill or dying.

Celebrity stars from the worlds of sport, music, fashion and cookery donated memorabilia for the silent auction which, on its own, raised more than £4,200 (included in the £27,400) and included donations from Lady Gaga, Gordon Ramsay, Pele and Roberto Cavalli.

Ball guests were greeted by the Northumbrian Water Ellington Colliery Band playing tunes which everyone can hear and enjoy on a specially recorded CD to mark WaterAid’s birthday and to raise much needed cash. They cost £10 and can be purchased by emailing

John Colvine, Northumbrian Water Ellington Colliery Band’s manager and principal cornet, said: “We were delighted to welcome the guests to the WaterAid Ball and hope that they enjoyed our music. When we were asked to record the CD we jumped at the chance to help support the fantastic charity, which does such important work. I hope that the CD sells well and raises as much money as possible to help save and change peoples’ lives.”

Bands ‘55 degrees’ and ‘Ruby Kind and the Strangers’ encouraged party goers to dance the night away and members of the Newcastle Eagles basketball team enticed people to donate money through their ‘hoops challenge’.

John Mowbray, chairman for WaterAid Northumbria, said: “We take top quality tap water and the fact that we can flush a toilet for granted. It is unacceptable that in this day and age people do not have clean water or somewhere private and safe to go to the toilet. WaterAid is a fantastic charity and one we are very proud to be associated with.

”I am delighted at the amount of money we have raised and would like to thank each individual and business involved in playing their part to save lives and give people hope for the future.”

Special thanks go to Northumbrian WaterAid’s platinum partners: JN Bentley Limited and Lumsden and Carroll Construction Limited, from Durham, and Fastflow Pipeline Services Limited and Gowland and Dawson Limited from Washington.

In addition to the money raised at the birthday ball, Peter McGovern, who lives in Darlington and is the son of a Northumbrian Water employee, appeared in Madness of George III at the Theatre Royal in Newcastle. A WaterAid appeal, at just two of the performances, for Peter’s effort to run the Great North Run for the charity raised £3,000.

For more information about WaterAid or to find out how you can get involved log onto or email

For further information, contact Cara Hall on 0191 301 6720.

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