7:20am Friday 15th July 2011
A VARIETY show and sports fun day raised £21,000 for a new sports and performing arts centre in memory of tragic schoolgirl Karis May Darling.
More than 60 acts performed on a giant stage in the grounds of Gable Hall School, Corringham, including Karis’s sister Kristi, 15, brother Johnny, seven, and cousin Charlie, 15.
The show was a moving tribute to the 12-year-old, who died suddenly in April of brain bug streptoccous A.
After she died, her family donated her heart, liver, pancreas and kidneys to help save the lives of five others, saying it is what she would have wanted.
Star attractions this weekend included Harry Derbidge, from smash-hit television show the Only Way is Essex, and Perry Kiely, from Stanford-le-Hope, who won Britain’s Got Talent with dance group Diversity, two years ago.
Former England, West Ham, Manchester United and Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince and fellow West Ham veteran Eamonn Dolan helped run a penalty shoot-out and other football-themed activities.
England rugby international Emily Scott also gave out trophies following a rugby-themed competition.
Karis’s father, John, 44, of Gardner Avenue, Corring-ham, was thrilled the day raised so much money.
He said: “It just shows what you can achieve when the whole community comes together.
“There were 22 people on the organising committee who helped organise the day. They put in so much hard work and I just can’t thank them enough.
“Karis loved sport and performing. If she had been there, she would have got up and sung with her sister.
“She would also have been backstage supporting the other children and out in the grounds helping clear up the rubbish. That was the sort of the girl she was.
“The charity has given us a purpose after everything that happened. It will allow us to keep her name alive.”
Money raised on the day will go towards a new centre for sports and performing arts, called the Karis May Darling Pavilion, set to be built at an unspecified site in Corringham.
Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway, who is playing Catwoman in the new Batman movie, has agreed to be a patron of the Karis May Darling Foundation.
To find out more about the charity, which will offer help to children who cannot afford professional training in performing arts and sports, visit www.karismaydarling foundation.org.uk
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