`

Gino D’Acampo surprises Harrogate ladies at charity luncheon

Gino DAcampo and Julie Cooper
Gino DAcampo and Julie Cooper

Women were left speechless when Gino D’Acampo made a surprise visit at their charity luncheon.

The big-hearted Italian chef had been visiting his restaurant in Harrogate when diner, Denise Hignett, made him aware of a charity function taking place just down the road.

The event, hosted in aid of the Finlay Cooper Fund, a trust started by former Middlesbrough, Millwall, Nottingham Forest and England defender Colin Cooper and wife Julie to follow the loss of their son in a tragic choking incident, raises funds for a wide number of worthwhile children’s causes. It has generated more than £600,000 since launch in 2006.

Seizing the opportunity to further raise awareness of the trust, Denise, a good friend of Julie’s and supporter of the Finlay Cooper Fund, couldn’t resist popping into the Parliament Street restaurant and asking for Gino’s support when she saw that he was due to be in town.

Denise said: “We, Jules, Colin and I, are big fans of Gino’s restaurants and can regularly be found in the restaurant or on the roof terrace enjoying a drink.

“When I saw that he was going to be in Harrogate I had to pop along and see if I could coax him into attending our event. I never anticipated he would say yes!”

The annual women’s luncheon, the third on behalf of the Finlay Cooper Fund, was attended by over 50 guests and is one of the trust’s key fundraising initiatives.

Gino said: “A father of young children myself, I was touched to learn of Julie and Colin’s story.

“They’ve turned a deeply personal tragedy into a truly wonderful fund in Finlay’s memory and have helped an enormous number of families in doing so.”

“It was my absolute pleasure to pop in to the luncheon and say ciao. I encourage everyone to do their bit and back Julie and Colin on their next fundraising journey.”