Sunderland AFC Chief Operating Officer Steve Davison took centre stage at an inspiring VIP event attended by senior leaders from across the city and wider North East.

Speaking at the high-profile evening hosted at Sunderland College’s City Campus, Steve passionately discussed the importance of building strong partnerships, his love for maths and how education institutions provide an essential environment for success.

Since joining SAFC in 2021, Steve has worked tirelessly to re-engage the club with the city and rebuild its relationship with supporters, businesses, and the local community, including Sunderland College, with which he shares a special connection.

He said: “My mam started at the Bede School over 80 years ago and to this very day, she still speaks incredibly fondly of her time there.

“It was therefore a privilege to be invited to speak at the event and support Sunderland College, which plays such an integral role in our community.

“At SAFC we recognise the significance of that work and the importance of the Club’s connection with the City of Sunderland and County Durham, with events such as this providing a great opportunity to forge stronger partnerships with a range of diverse regional stakeholders.”

Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of Education Partnership North East and Sunderland College welcomed the guests and thanked them for their ongoing support.

Guests and stakeholders were served a three-course meal in the college’s critically acclaimed City Bistro restaurant by professional cookery and hospitality students and entertained by a stellar musical performance from alumni, Marianne Hume.

During the event, several organisations such as South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Sunderland BID and Young Asian Voices were presented with honorary awards in recognition of their impact on skills and communities across the City of Sunderland by James Stuart, Chair of Education Partnership North East, of which Sunderland College is a part.

Speaking after the event, Ellen added: “Sunderland AFC is a vitally important organisation, especially within the City of Sunderland and I am incredibly grateful to Steve, our friend and partner, for providing a thought provoking after-dinner speech.

“For many years Sunderland College has been a key partner working alongside the Club and city leaders to help shape an ambitious future for Sunderland.

“Now with the College opening a new Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy in 2024, a campus adjacent to SAFC’s Stadium of Light, we are going to be great neighbours.”