The Newcastle Evening Chronicle reported the following:
Generous Geordie rock star Sting has come to the rescue of two Tyneside special schools. The Wallsend-born singer took time out from his sell-out show at the MetroRadio Arena to present Variety Club Sunshine Coaches to Seaton Hirst Community Middle School, from Ashington, and Columbia Grange Specialist School, from Washington, Sunderland. The buses were paid for by money raised at a tribute night to the artist in May and will provide vital transport for their pupils. Both schools met Sting, whose real name is Gordon Sumner, at the Arena before he went on stage on November 19. Katherine Elliot, of Columbia Grange School, said: “The children spend part of the day in mainstream schools. “This means the buses are necessary for getting the children back and forth. When we met Sting I think we were more excited than the children but everyone is really grateful to him. We even asked if we could sing for him at one point. We’ve already been able to use the buses to go to swimming lessons and on school trips to Roman forts and museums.” The new coaches will help as part of a Government scheme to get as many special needs children back into the mainstream schools as possible. At Seaton Hirst, the new coach replaces their old one, which was also given to them by the Variety Club charity in the early 1990s. Sara Wild, of Seaton Hirst, said: “It was really exciting meeting Sting and we all had a great time. Before we went to the concert we showed the kids pictures of him and played his music so it was nice for them to see him in real life. Because the children have learning difficulties, music has a big impact on them.” The donation of a bus to Columbia Grange, which opened last year, means they will no longer have to hire out transport, or rely on goodwill.

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