Gala night to bring in Alder Hey donations

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Mark Peers receiving the British Empire Medal. Pic © Alder Hey

A prolific fundraiser is generating yet more money for Alder Hey Children’s charity in the form of a gala night in May.

Mark Peers will be hosting the event for the second time after a huge success last year, with roughly 130 people turning up and thousands of pounds raised as a result.

He anticipates that those efforts will be eclipsed this time, with prizes such as a return flight to New York on offer to be won on a raffle at the ‘dress to impress’ function.

The reason Mark hosts events like this stems all the way back to his childhood when he spent a significant amount of time at Alder Hey.

He was unfortunately affected by an infection in his bone, which resulted in his right leg needing to be amputated when he was just eight years old. This only propelled him to give back all he could to the prestigious children’s charity, and he has since raised a significant sum for a cause very close to his heart.

YouTube: Liverpool FC spread Christmas cheer at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

Mark, who is now 24, told JMU journalism: “I was a patient for 20 years, undergoing around 150 surgeries, most of them before I was a teenager, not to mention the thousands of clinic appointments I had to attend in that 20-year period.”

“I was first admitted to Alder Hey a few days after being born with complications with my right leg, and being born with a cleft lip and palate. Then I was diagnosed with a bone disease, Osteomyelitis, when I was two or three years old. To cut a long story short, after so many surgeries and treatments, my right leg was amputated below the knee in 2001 when I was just eight.”

Mark has never let that get in the way of his charity work, venturing as far afield as the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canyon on his fundraising trips.

The gala on May 13 will have lots to offer guests, ranging from Everton and Liverpool memorabilia to a live performance from a band. Mark is optimistic about the night, and hopes to raise close to £10,000, topping last year’s total.

Mr Peers, who was last year awarded the British Empire Medal for his devotion to helping others, admitted: “I still don’t think I deserve it. Receiving the BEM at just 22 was a huge shock, naturally, not to mention incredibly difficult to keep it a secret for two months before the Honours List was published. I was immensely proud, overwhelmed, and honoured – no pun intended – that somebody took the time to recommend me to receive such a high accolade.”

About Sam Heyhirst, JMU Journalism