Top Moments of 2023

With 2023 coming to a close, we round up some of the top moments of this year.

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.
It’s been another great year for our charity delivering education, care, support and therapy and enabling those we support to live their best lives.
We have rounded up just some of the great stories from this year from around the Foundation for you.

1. Percy Hedley Foundation turns 70 years old

February 16th 2023 saw the birthday of the Foundation! We have grown significantly since we started in 1953, which began with just 12 students.

We celebrated with cake and decorations on the day (see photo above) and with our first #PaintTheToon Purple event, which saw students and businesses alike dressing in purple to fundraise money for us.

2. Cycling to Space Fundraising Challenge

Jonny Connop set himself the challenge of cycling over 360,000ft in elevation this year, and after 217 rides and 449 hours he’s cycled a magnificent 364,311ft in elevation in 2023.

3. Barratt Homes Show Home Partnership

Students from Percy Hedley School have had the chance to help design a room in one of Barratt Homes’ Show Homes. With Interior Designers from Show Business Interiors, they’ve helped in the decoration and room layout so far.

4. Northern Lights Charity Ball

For over 15 years The Percy Hedley Ball has been one of the region’s most popular and enduring charity balls, attracting over 300 guests each year.  Since it began, the ball has raised nearly £1 million to support disabled children, young people and adults across the North East!

5. Award-winning Police Cadets

Our partnership with Northumbria Police, where students from Hedleys College become volunteer police cadets has now won multiple awards! From being nominated at the British Diversity Awards and being able to meet celebrities such as Denise Welsh and Allison Hammond, to winning the Lord Ferrers Award for Best Volunteer Team, our cadets have done us proud.

6. Adaptive Surfing

Summer meant hitting the waves and students had great fun both surfing and paddle-boarding. Ways to surf included individually prone, kneeling or standing, assisted prone/kneeling/standing, tandem prone, tandem in a chair. They had such a great time learning a new skill, thanks to South Shields Surf School providing these lessons.

7. Working with Partners

Lounge Group, who have multiple restaurants such as the Martino Lounge in Morpeth and the Muro Lounge in Hexham have partnered up with us. They’ll fundraise for us through multiple ways such as pub quizzes.

Become a partner with us and support the Percy Hedley Foundation. You can be a partner through making us your charity of the year, supporting us in our ball, volunteering with us, and many more!

8. The Return of Hedleys Got Talent

2023 saw the return of our very own talent show Hedleys Got Talent! Staff, members and students put their skills on show as they entertained a great crowd!

9. Jesmond Fun Run

Northern Counties students and staff dressed up in fancy costumes walking around Jesmond for a fun outdoor activity!

10. #TeamPercyHedley Smashed the Great North Run 2023

Our runners did us so proud at the Great North Run in 2023, they battled through some of the most extreme weather with the heat in the morning and torrential rain in the afternoon.


See some more fabulous moments in the video below!