Stepps health club joins TV ‘Dragon’ to fund life-changing operations for children

Duncan Bannatyne and Nigora Whitehorn during a recent mission by Operation Smile to Ghana
Duncan Bannatyne and Nigora Whitehorn during a recent mission by Operation Smile to Ghana

Hundreds of children in the developing world will have life-changing operations, thanks in part to a health club at Stepps owned by a TV Dragon.

Bannatyne Health Clubs owned by Duncan Bannatyne, star of Dragons’ Den television fame, held a host of fun events to help raise £31,794.

Members and staff throughout the UK, including the local club, got involved, embracing the charity Operation Smile and its objectives - £150 pays for a child to have a life-changing cleft operation.

Mr Bannatyne, who is an ambassador of charity, recently visited Ghana with volunteers following previous trips to Mexico and Vietnam to see for himself the work being carried out.

During his visits Mr Bannatyne has witnessed some of the operations first-hand and got to know many of the parents and children the charity are helping.

Karen Jaques, Chief Executive of Operation Smile UK, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to accompany Duncan and family on his third Operation Smile mission.

“Duncan gets so involved with the children and he is clearly so committed to helping those children who need our help.

“His kindness and generosity cannot be understated and we remain privilege to have Duncan as an Operation Smile Ambassador.”

Justin Musgrove, chief executive of the Bannatyne Group, said: “Duncan is a proud supporter of Operation Smile and every year the health clubs get involved in Smile Week to raise money and awareness of the charity.

“As always our members and staff came up trumps and took part in all manner of fundraising activities and we are delighted to have been able to make such a substantial contribution to a worthwhile and life-changing project.”

Operation Smile is an international children’s medical charity with a presence in more than 60 countries, whose network of more than 5,400 medical volunteers from over 80 countries is dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children. Since its founding in 1982,

Operation Smile has provided more than 240,000 free surgeries for children and young adults born with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To build long-term self-sufficiency in resource poor environments, Operation Smile trains doctors and local medical professionals in its partner countries so they are empowered to treat their local communities. Operation Smile also donates medical equipment, supplies and provides year-round medical treatment through its worldwide centres.