Beacon of Light opening celebrations

March 6th, 2019

The Foundation of Light’s Royal Patron was guest of honour to officially open the Beacon of Light in March (2019) and met with children and families who had already benefitted from the £20m community facility, as well as local companies, partners and benefactors who were vital in making the 10-year project a reality.

HRH, Countess of Wessex also attended the Foundation’s first ever gala awards, which celebrated the achievements and impact Sunderland AFC’s official charity has made to local lives in the North East over the past year.

The awards were an opportunity to share some of the most inspiring and heart-warming stories of the children, families and adults who have overcome adversity or achieved excellence whilst working with the Foundation towards a better future.

SAFC Manager Jack Ross and players from the first team joined Foundation Trustees and supporters of the Foundation to applaud their successes at a ceremony hosted by Sky Sports presenter David Jones and Brit Award-winning singer and songwriter Faye Tozer-Smith.

Commenting on the day, Foundation Chair of Trustees, Sir Bob Murray CBE said: “We were thrilled that Her Royal Highness, Countess of Wessex agreed to officially open the Beacon of Light and join us for a day and evening of celebration.

“The Countess has been an enthusiastic champion of our work in the region for more than 15 years so it was wonderful to welcome her to see the Beacon alive and vibrant with the many different types of activities that will help to enrich local people’s lives. Our Awards are also always incredibly inspiring and demonstrate the difference the Foundation makes”.

The Beacon of Light fuses together sport, education, health and well-being and the world of work like no other place in the UK. The striking cube-shaped building houses a 4G rooftop football barn, outdoor floodlit pitches and a versatile indoor arena, which can also host national sporting competitions, exhibitions and events, as well as a suite of classrooms and informal learning and training spaces for people of all ages.

“There is nowhere else like the Beacon– I’m especially proud it’s a first for the North East as well as the UK – and I am certain it will inspire many more people to try something new, learn more or do more and change thousands of lives for the better,” added Sir Bob.

The Beacon of Light is also home to Foundation of Light, which generates vital funds to be reinvested back in to the community through the charity’s pioneering and award-winning programmes.