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SAFC legend supports 73 Steps campaign

10 July 2017

FA Cup winner Jimmy Montgomery is challenging local people and companies to join him in supporting the Beacon of Light by buying one of 73 steps of a feature staircase at the heart of the new building.

Jimmy, who is an Ambassador for the Foundation of Light, said: “This region is part of who I am, I was born and raised here and have an immense feeling of love and pride for it. But we need to be honest and admit we also have some serious problems. Now is the time we need to come together, address these head-on and show we really care about everyone in our community.   

“Some of the statistics about our region make for uncomfortable reading and with the increased cuts to public services some will only get worse – unless we step in.

“Who cares that a third of adults in our region don’t have the basic skills they need to find a job or that the north east has the most unemployed 16-24 year olds in the country? Who cares that a quarter of four-year-olds in our region are obese or that a quarter of adults do absolutely no physical exercise?

We care and believe the Beacon of Light will play a big part in tackling some of our biggest challenges such as: unemployment, poverty, childhood obesity, skills shortage and a lack of confidence in our young people.

“The main structure of the Beacon of Light is now in place and construction is due to be completed by summer 2018 – but we still need £2m to complete and kit out the building.

“Now companies (and individuals) who share our vision for the future can get involved with the Beacon through the ‘73 Steps’ project.”

The feature staircase in the £18m Beacon of Light will be a key linking point between all floors and will run up through the centre of the building and to celebrate the club’s FA Cup success it includes 73 steps.

Les Cooper of UK Asbestos Specialists was the first to step forward: “We’ve been big admirers and supporters of the work of Foundation for a number of years and I think playing your part is the way forward.

“As soon as I heard about the ‘73 Steps’ I thought it was a brilliant idea. We can all make difference and help local people – and also get to be a part of the Beacon. As soon as I told my daughter she said you have to get number 73! I was 13 in 1973 and that day means still means so much, so I snapped it up straight away.”

Lesley Spuhler OBE, Foundation of Light Chief Executive added: “We’re already working with other likeminded and leading names who have the expertise and resources to help us make this happen. People like: Nissan, Accenture who will help tackle unemployment and skills training and Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food, who’ll provide classes and education to promote a healthy lifestyle. Now we’re calling on local business to get involved.”  

Names of supporters will be laser cut into stainless steel plaques that will be mounted onto the front of the steps. The cost of putting your mark on one of the regions’ most iconic buildings and helping the northeast community is £5,000 – to include two years’ worth of corporate membership of the Foundation of Light and an invitation to an exclusive pre-opening event. Name plaques remain on the steps in perpetuity.

To learn more about the Beacon of Light and how it will transform our region visit beaconoflight.co.uk