'I'd Do It All Again'

Last updated : 14 May 2017 By Footy Mad - Editor

The organiser of the controversial Newcastle United banner flyover at the Stadium of Light has declared himself ‘very happy’ with the stunt’s outcome.

Image result for Newcastle United planeTaunting rivals Sunderland for their relegation to the Championship, a plane carrying the message ‘United by cancer - Divided by leagues’ soared above the ground on Saturday afternoon.

Organised by Toon fan Darren Curry, the stunt was originally planned in retaliation to the 2016 ‘Auf Wiedersehen Prem’ flyover of St James’ Park.

But when donations started flooding in, the banner became a fundraiser for five-year-olds Bradley Lowery and Hope Feeney, and Frankie Sherwood, three, who are all battling childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

Approximately £6,000 has been raised which will be split between the three families - minus the £960 cost of the flight - and Darren believes the banner has achieved its purpose.

He said: “I’m very happy with the amount we’ve raised, I didn’t have any goal in mind.

“Without the banner, we would not have raised the money. It has worked out as great publicity and raised awareness for all three children.

“We’ve raised money and I think we’ve raised awareness with this which is all great.”

Taking off from Shotton Airfield in County Durham shortly before 3pm, the Cessna aircraft carrying the message reached heights of up to 1,500 feet on a flight which lasted under an hour.

In the early stages of the first half of Sunderland’s Premier League clash with Swansea City, the banner could seen from the stadium in the skies above.

The stunt drew a backlash from fans of both clubs in the days leading up to it, with Newcastle United supporter groups Wor Hyem 1892 and Gallowgate Flags slammed the banner’s message.

But despite the criticism, Darren, from Heaton, said he would do it all over again.

He said: “It would not put us off. I would do it again tomorrow without a shadow of a doubt.

“The banner choice was not mine, it was from people voting on social media. I can’t understand why there was so many problems with it on the Friday beforehand.

“I’ve got a lot of bad messages, mostly off Newcastle fans, but Bradley’s family came out this morning and gave us brilliant support.”

In a post on Bradley’s Facebook page on Saturday morning, mum Gemma wrote: “I would just like to say we don’t feel the banner is offensive or insensitive, I can understand why some people feel it is not appropriate.

“However the only thing we thought of when we heard about the banner is it was very thoughtful of people to want to raise awareness and raise funds for Bradley Frankie and Hope.”

Frankie Sherwood’s mum Hailey Laidler also came out in support of the banner and added: “It is nice to know that Frankie is in people’s thoughts.”