Tycoon lays foundations to help children in need

Credit: Keith Taylor. Graham Wylie launches his new charity, designed to benefit underprivileged or vulnerable youngsters.
Credit: Keith Taylor. Graham Wylie launches his new charity, designed to benefit underprivileged or vulnerable youngsters.

SAGE tycoon Graham Wylie has launched an ambitious new foundation designed to raise millions of pounds for vulnerable and underprivileged children in the North-East.

The son of a miner and a Whitley Bay guesthouse landlady, who now calls the Close House mansion in Wylam home, made a promise at the unveiling of the foundation this week - 100 per cent of all donations will go directly to charity.

The father of four will meet all the running, staff and administration costs of the Graham Wylie Foundation himself.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be able to announce the launch of the new foundation,” he said.

“While I’ve been heavily involved in the past in raising money for, and donating to, charities across the region, the aim of the Graham Wylie Foundation is to create a new way of giving, which will benefit children in our region for generation after generation after generation.”

The foundation will soon be inviting grant applications from organisations, community groups and charities working with underprivileged or vulnerable youngsters.

Their needs could range from medical or sporting equipment at one end of the scale to support staff or even a new building at the other.

He said: “We’ll be giving grants to fund equipment, buildings, staff and assets which will benefit groups of children or young people and which will continue to do so well into the future.”

Mr Wylie is well known as the founder of the Sage software company and the Technology Services Group. He is also the owner of the Close House golf resort and a string of successful racehorses.

The new foundation’s logo features his hand print and a sage leaf that together represent the helping hand of Sage.

“I was brought up in the North-East,” he said. “It’s where I set up business, it’s where I live and it’s where I’m bringing up my own children, so it’s incredibly important to me to launch this foundation, enabling me to give back to the region in a very significant way.”

It has already received the backing of one of his closest friends, footballing legend Alan Shearer, who said: “I wish the Graham Wylie Foundation the best of luck on its launch.

“To help, educate and inspire the underprivileged and vulnerable children and young people of the North-East is a cause I am proud to support.”

Two stark events in Mr Wylie’s own life have fuelled his charitable activities and his determination to make a difference to his region.

In 2000, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Fortunately the disease was caught early and he has now been given the all-clear.

And then seven years ago, one of his twin daughters was born with congenital heart defects that required three major operations to correct.

Thankfully, Kiera is now a healthy little girl, running around happily with her sister Zhara and enjoying school.

Grateful to the medics who saved his daughter’s life, Mr Wylie became patron of the Children’s Heart Unit Foundation in Newcastle and brought his friends and fellow Geordies Ant and Dec and, again, Alan Shearer on board to help him in his mission to fill its coffers with £1m.

Further information about his new charity and details about how to make donations are available on the website at www.grahamwyliefoundation.org.uk.

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