Hero of Sunderland football inspires local businesses

Sunderland AFC's coach Kevin Ball was the inspirational speaker at the North East Chamber of Commerce Durham and Wearside dinner

John Craggs & Peter Walls, Gentoo, Kevin Ball, Dave Laws and MC for the evening Jeff Brown
John Craggs & Peter Walls, Gentoo, Kevin Ball, Dave Laws and MC for the evening Jeff Brown

The Premier League of North East business celebrated the achievements of regional firms at a gala dinner at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

This year’s North East Chamber of Commerce Durham and Wearside Annual Dinner featured a stirring keynote address from SAFC hero and current senior professional development coach, Kevin Ball.

The black-tie event was sponsored by Sunderland construction firm and social housing providers, Gentoo.

Kevin Ball, one of the most loved and respected figures in Sunderland AFC’s recent history, spoke passionately about his role as a player and coach at the club and outlined the importance he places on ensuring youngsters at the Academy of Light also receive a solid education.

Kevin was voted the club’s Player of the Year in his first season which he played mainly at centre half before transforming into the tough tackling central midfielder winning two First Division titles.

The annual NECC dinner attracted around 200 guests from across the regional business spectrum and acknowledged the excellent work of companies who are spearheading the regional economic upturn.

NECC President, Dave Laws, said: “The Durham and Wearside Dinner proved to be another fantastic event. It was great to hear the club’s commitment to the region’s business community and recognition of the important role our sporting clubs play in sustaining our economic health.

“The city, the area and the region has achieved so much in the face of some pretty challenging economic conditions and this dinner was a way of showcasing our fantastic businesses and organisations and highlighting the significant progress made by the NECC over the last 12 months. With so much to celebrate it ensured we had a marvelous evening.”

Peter Walls, Gentoo Group Chief Executive said: “We were very proud to support Durham and Wearside business by sponsoring one of the key events in the North East.

“This event provided a great opportunity to celebrate the hard work of people in our area. These are the people who work hard every day and are making the North East a serious place to do business.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer