Famous friends by to rescue charity
JUST last week, an East Yorkshire charity was on the brink of closure.
But now The Echoes Foundation has been saved – thanks to a nervous gameshow contestant and a question about Susan Boyle.
TV presenter Alex Brooker won £25,000 for The Echoes Foundation on Friday night's Million Pound Drop.
Alex – who became a patron of the charity earlier this year – went on the live show with comedian Josh Widdicombe and the pair won £100,000.
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Paralympics reporter Alex split his share of the winnings between two worthy causes – the Echoes Foundation and a US charity.
The Echoes Foundation founder Claire Stockton said: "Alex has saved the charity and secured our future.
"The £25,000 is fantastic – it is absolutely unbelievable.
"Alex knew Echoes was struggling but I didn't want to tell him how much before he went on.
"We had about six or seven months left, but now our future is safe."
Alex and Josh were teamed up as they were both pundits on The Last Leg show – which featured a mixture of comedy, guests and Paralympic highlights.
They had to answer eight questions during the Million Pound Drop in order to win the money.
Starting with £1 million, their money dwindled to £100,000.
On the last question – Which of these Boyles once auditioned to appear on Michael Barrymore's My Kind Of People? – they placed all their money on Susan Boyle, shunning the other option of Frankie Boyle.
Claire said: "My pulse was doing about 140.
"I could feel my heart pounding in my chest.
"When the answer came back that it was Susan I was jumping in the air screaming."
Claire, 39, set up the charity in 2008 after difficulties with getting support and therapy for her son Finley, 6, who suffers from a brain disorder.
Echoes now supports hundreds of families in East Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.
Claire watched the show in a bar room of the Hallmark hotel. She was at a wedding reception, but broke away from the party to tune into the show.
She said: "Our biggest ever contribution was about six months in, when the primary care trust gave us £20,000, so £25,000 is a lot of money to us.
"This money is to sustain the charity and keeps Echoes going.
"My hope is that, even though we won the money, people still support us.
"The amount of money is fantastic, but £25,000 won't last forever.
"We're so grateful to Alex for what he did."
The gameshow, hosted by Davina McCall, sees contestants answer eight questions.
They start with £1 million and place the money an answer they think is correct.
If they want to hedge their bets, they can place different amounts of money on different answers.
Alex was visibly nervous throughout the game, even joking to Davina: "When I play at home, Google makes it so much easier."
He later said, while nervously biting his fingernails: "It's a good job I only have a couple of nails to bite off."
After the show – which was aired live from 9pm to 10pm on Friday – Claire sent Alex a text to say thank you.
Claire wrote: "Alex, I can't believe it. You've secured the future of Echoes."
Later, Alex replied with: "That's OK. Hopefully, call you soon. My nerves are still shot. Was so nervous. £25,000, eh? BOOM!"