Cumbria Crack

Christmas comes early for James Rennie

Burnetts’ Partner Angela Curran (far right) with teacher Rosie Donald and students from James Rennie

Requests for raffle prizes, donations and sponsorship are received every day by businesses, but when Angela Curran at Burnetts received a letter from one of her clients, her heartstrings were well and truly pulled.

Mum Wendy Banks had written to Angela, a Partner at the Cumbria law firm asking for a raffle prize for a Race Night which aimed to raise money for Christmas celebrations at James Rennie School. Rather than donating a bottle of wine or a branded umbrella, the firm offered to meet the entire cost of Christmas!

A member of the Parent, Teachers and Friends Association (PTFA) at James Rennie, Mrs Banks had explained that the group was struggling to raise the £2,500 they needed to fund Christmas activities including a traditional Christmas dinner, transport to the nativity at St Cuthbert’s Church, a Christmas party and a visit from Father Christmas with gifts for all the students.

James Rennie School is a Special School for students aged between 3 and 19.  The school caters for approximately 145 pupils with severe and profound learning difficulties.  Some pupils have autism and a wide variety of disabilities.

Angela is a long-serving Trustee of The Percy Hedley Foundation in Newcastle, itself a specialist school for children with cerebral palsy, children with hearing or visual impairments and children with speech, language and communication difficulties.  As a result, she is keenly aware of the trials of fundraising. In addition, as Head of Medical Negligence and Serious Injury , she specialises in the sensitive area of birth trauma cases, working extensively with children with cerebral palsy.

She said, “I’ve seen first-hand what a fantastic and enriching experience Christmas can be to children with learning difficulties and disabilities so when Wendy told me that the PTFA was finding it a challenge to raise funds, we didn’t hesitate to jump in with an offer of help. Many of our clients are current and former students at James Rennie so we are delighted to be able to support the school in this way. I’m looking forward to enjoying a mince pie with students in December.”

Angela presented a cheque for £2,500 to pupils and staff at James Rennie before the school holidays.

In September 2017, Angela also won the award for Outstanding Individual Contribution to Charity at The North East Charity Awards, following a nomination from The Percy Hedley Foundation

The PTFA’s Race Night took place as planned, raising £3,000 which will now go towards the cost of refurbishing the school’s hydrotherapy pool.

For further information on Burnetts’ Medical Negligence and Serious Injury team, visit

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