Finlay Cooper name lives on with legacy donations

A Teesside charity has called time on its fundraising with three huge donations.

After taking the very difficult decision to cease fundraising at the end of 2018, the trustees of the Finlay Cooper Fund – set up by Boro legend Colin Cooper and his wife Julie – have been working hard to identify projects that they hope will leave a lasting memory of Finlay.

Out of 25 applications received, they have eventually decided to proceed with three projects:

• The purchase of premises by MAIN to enable them to move from their currently rented premises.

• The purchase of a caravan at Filey by Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation suitable for the use of disabled children to enable underprivileged disabled children in the region to experience a holiday.

• The provision of a new sensory suite at Daisy Chain.

Their £100,000 to Middlesbrough-based children’s charity MAIN has given them a deposit to buy the current NHS Unity House building in North Ormesby, which will be re-named the Finlay Cooper Centre.

“We felt the charity was coming to a natural end,” said ex-Boro defender Colin.

“This project for MAIN just resonated with us. It’s a stone’s throw from the Riverside Stadium, all of Julie’s family are from North Ormesby, and MAIN does some amazing work.

“Everyone who has played their part over the years – whether they’ve donated a pound or a penny, organised an event or hiked up Kilimanjaro – should be really proud.”

Julie added: “It’s huge for us and the trustees. It’s not only a legacy for the Finlay Cooper Fund, it’s for the whole of the North-East, and everyone who has supported us over the years.

“The people of the North-East are amazing – their generosity and support over the years has been wonderful.”

MAIN says it is now trying to raise funds to pay for the Finlay Cooper Centre to be refurbished.

Charity manager Helen Jaques said: “We’re absolutely delighted with this generous donation from The Finlay Cooper Fund – it’s the best thing that’s happened in the charity’s 17-year history.

“The Finlay Cooper Centre will be a beacon centre for short breaks respite in the Teesside and surrounding areas and why shouldn’t local families have access to the best possible services? Further more it will allow us to grow and expand our current provision.

“We are honoured to be associated with the Finlay Cooper Fund a charity which has similar values to our own and to be able to provide Julie and Colin with their legacy.

“However, the real hard work starts now as we have to fundraise a further £200,000 to modify the building to meet our needs and we’re appealing to the people and businesses in Teesside and surrounding areas to help us achieve that.”

The Finlay Cooper Fund, set up in in 2006, has raised more than £600,000 for local good causes over the last 13 years.

• Pictured top (from left) Colin Cooper, MAIN charity manager Helen Jaques, Finlay Cooper Fund trustee Nick Waites, Julie Cooper, and trustee Graham Fordy.