This month has paid tribute to one of the North East’s most inspiring names, at an event hosted by a national organisation that he holds very close to his heart.
Variety, the Children’s Charity, Northern Region and the area’s dedicated committee of volunteers have spent the past few months organising the event, to honour the three time gold medallist, Paralympian, Stephen Miller, for his ambition, dedication and undeniably charitable nature.
The black tie event which was held at the Hilton Hotel Newcastle Gateshead was a night full of inspirational tales and charitable donations, resulting in a celebration of not only one local hero but North East culture as a whole.
Stephen Miller, one of the regions’ most decorated athletes was joined by family, friends and humble fans to receive Variety’s highest accolade; the Silver Heart Award, which in this instance has been replaced with a special edition Gold Heart Award to match Stephen’s already extensive trophy cabinet. Miller, from Cramlington, was born with cerebral palsy and has represented his country at five straight Paralympic Games – including London 2012 where he captained the male athletics team. Now the three time gold medallist club thrower is the proud recipient of the charity accolade, for his inspirational life-story and ongoing support to both Variety and the local disability sport sector, adding to his hugely successful career haul of 25 international medals. During the evenings’ entertainment video tributes were played from Alan Shearer, Jonathan Edwards and Steven Taylor and the event was expertly hosted by Jeff Brown.
“I am flattered to be presented with this award and am extremely thankful that organisations like Variety exist to help children with disabilities. The night was a huge success and it was great to see so many familiar faces together in one place, not only to have a good night and let their hair down but to raise money for children and families who truly need it.”
On the night, around 200 guests arrived to a welcoming drinks reception, sponsored by Sintons Law based in Newcastle city centre, followed by a meticulously crafted, three-course meal accompanied by entertainment from popular regional musician and ‘The New Face of Swing’, Glen Roughead who stood alongside The Paul James Band. Later in the evening Variety paid a special tribute to Stephen who gave response and insight into his life and sporting career, proving him to be the true personification of perseverance. Pop Idol’s Jo Birchall also sang on the evening the release of her new charity single, which was written and performed especially for Variety. The silent auction was a huge success with prizes including a match spent in an Executive box at St James Park and Stephen’s own 2004 Athens Paralympic shirt which both contributed to the overall funds raised of £3000.
Tony Thornton, Chairman of Variety Northern Region comments:
“Stephen is an inspirational individual in everything he has achieved. Not only is he a gold medallist but he is also a web developer, motivational speaker and the Managing Director of SMILE through sport. He is an inspiration within the athletics field and acts as a true reflection of the success rewarded to those with unwavering potential, giving many local children the motivation they need for the future.”
Part of a worldwide charity, Variety, the Children’s Charity, was formed in the UK in 1949. Since then, it has raised more than £267 million to help children and young people throughout the country who are sick, disabled or disadvantaged. Variety believes that neither disability nor disadvantage should prevent any child from reaching his or her full potential. That’s why Variety provides practical help, through a wide range of services, that makes an immediate improvement to the quality of the lives of the children and young people whom it supports.
Following a hip replacement to fix an injury, which resulted in a disappointing 11th place finish in London, Miller is back in training and raring to regain his place as Paralympic club throw champion in Rio 2016, with Variety backing him all the way.
Information regarding Variety’s future events are available from the Variety main office on 0191 214 5959 or alternatively you can contact them via email on firstname.lastname@example.org