NEWCASTLE icon Tim Healy is to become a patron of the North East Homeless charity as they aim to increase the number of people they can help.

The organisation was set up by Wallsend-born Brian Burridge, after in August 2014 he placed a post on Facebook asking for blankets.

Within six months he had 5,000 members wanting to help – the operation has since gone on to achieve charity status and help thousands of desperate and hungry people in the area.

Burridge has his wife Emma and Liz Jenkins as trustees of the charity.

Healy said: “I am truly honored to be helping such a worthy cause, and when I was able to see what NEH was doing to help the homeless then I had no doubt it was the right thing to do.

“I will get involved and if my name can help them grow and consequently help those in desperate need then I will be more than happy. I already have thoughts on how I will actively help and help the organization grow.

“We have now entered the period when the going gets a damn sight tougher for many and nothing hits harder than seeing people out on the street – we can walk away and pretend we don’t really see some of the unfortunate sights we witness – but as human beings it lodges in our brain and it reverberates.

“It’s hard to believe that in 2018 the truly awful problem of people being without food and home is growing at such an alarming rate.’’

Burridge added: “This is a massive breakthrough for North East Homeless, to have Tim Healy join us as a patron. We already have Simon Donald ( Viz creator) with us on our journey.

“Tim just wants to do his bit for those suffering and feels he can play a part. When I first started with a single social media post six years ago little did I believe how far we could take this and how many we could help along the way.

“I discovered just a few years ago that my late mam, had brought myself and brother and sister up through some difficult times. We sadly lost our dad early and it was a tough road for mam raising us on very little money via a widows pension. I guess this inspired me to help others – particularly when I discovered mam would often go without just so we could eat.’’

Burridge has plans to increase the output of his NEH charity and added: “At the minute we hold three outreaches every single week of the year - Tuesday in Sunderland, Thursday and Sunday in Newcastle.

“We serve a hot meal, hot drinks, advice, lot and compassion on the streets.

“At the minute we prepare all this from my home in Wallsend, our plan is to have our own premises, kitchens, showers along with services that will support street friends in getting a means to an ends of living on the streets.

“We plan to generate an income from businesses renting offices etc from us for meeting space. It might be highly ambitious, but I think we can do it.

“North East Homeless is about North East people helping fellow North Easterners who for whatever reason are struggling.’’

Healy, currently starring in Open All Hours on BBC 1 will be back home in Newcastle on Friday, November 16.

He he will star in his show to help Newcastle-born actor and his close friend Dave Whittaker who suffered a stroke and who now needs constant care.

At the charity event in the Blakelaw Social Club in Newcastle the Geordie legend will be interviewed by BBC Tees radio presenter Paul ‘Goffy’ Gough about his fantastic career and also perform some of his favorite music, The variety show will also feature Tony Washington who will perform his Bobby Thompson tribute show.

Healy added: “I love helping my lovely pal Dave and I am really looking forward to my planned night in Newcastle and it will be very special for me.

“ It will be great to look back at my career and to perform some of my favorite songs. The Eagles, Neil Diamond and others will be in there as my favorites …maybe even the theme from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet….you never know!

“It will be a brilliant night at the Blakelaw Social Club in Newcastle on November 16th and I am very much looking forward to it. People love a god old fashioned variety night and we have arranged this to be a party in the old variety style.’’

You can find North East Homeless via Facebook NEH, North East Homeless or Twitter @NEH18 or at

Tickets for An Evening with Tim Healy at Blakelaw Social Club, Newcastle on Friday November 16th are £15 and avaialable by calling 0191 242 0226 or visit