Up to fifty North East veterans have received a boost ahead of Christmas thanks to Ryder Architecture and Hydrock.

Staff from both organisations visited Launchpad’s Avondale House on the Byker estate in Newcastle upon Tyne earlier today to hand out Christmas gifts to each veteran living at the house.

The gifts were funded through money raised at this year’s Oktoberfest event, which was held in October. The veterans were also treated to a Christmas buffet, a full dinner and activities have been organised for residents living at Avondale House and Launchpad’s Hollyacre House in Sacriston, County Durham.

Ryder’s Oktoberfest returned to Brinkburn Street Brewery and veterans’ charity Launchpad was one of three North East charities to benefit from all money raised on the evening, which amounted to £10,000. Newcastle Cat and Dog Shelter and Newcastle United Foundation were the other two nominated charities.

Now in its sixth year, the event sponsored by Hydrock and Ward Hadaway saw a room full of guests enjoying an evening filled with traditional German food and drink and live music by local band, Groovetrain.

Charitable funds were raised with guests participating in a raffle and silent auction. The event is a huge success and has raised over £50,000 for various charities since it was first held in 2013.

Hydrock nominated Launchpad as their designated charity to benefit on the evening. In return, the charity invited staff from Hydrock and Ryder to see at first-hand the support the charity provides to veterans who have struggled to cope with the transition from military to civilian life.

Phil Thompson, Manager of both Avondale House and Hollyacre House, said:

“We are very grateful to Hydrock for nominating Launchpad as their chosen charity at the Ryder Oktoberfest event and for us to benefit from some of the proceeds that were raised.

“It’s been great to be able to give them a tour of the house and explain how we support our veterans but also for them to meet staff and some of the veterans themselves who have benefited from their generous donation.

“As a charity, we rely on personal and corporate donations so to receive a cheque for £3,333 is amazing and means so much to us. Christmas is a difficult time for a lot of our residents, especially those with families, so we wanted to brighten their Christmas by organising some gifts and treated the residents living at both houses to a buffet, a full Christmas dinner and some activities that they could all participate in.”

Chris Chennell, Regional Director – North East at Hydrock, said:

“Hydrock was proud to sponsor the Ryder Oktoberfest, an event that raises significant funds for local charities.

“Our choice to support Launchpad, a charity that helps transition veterans into civilian life, has significant meaning to our colleagues who are proud members of the ex-forces community.

“A fantastic £10,000 was raised for three great charities so it is nice to have the opportunity to visit Avondale House and meet the staff and residents but also hand out some Christmas presents.”

Avondale House comprises 33 self-contained one-bedroom flats for former serving personnel and their partners. Launchpad has three houses in the North of England in Newcastle, Liverpool and Durham providing accommodation for 101 homeless veterans – accepting veterans from all over the UK.