ANIME fans at a North-East convention used their love of Japanese animation and geek culture to raise thousands of pounds to support the vital work of the North East Autism Society (NEAS).

Organisers of SunniCon Festival, which is held annually at St James’s Park, in Newcastle, raised £2,150 by auctioning off memorabilia and collectible items, as well as by selling charity ribbons.

The convention, now in its ninth year, celebrates the art of Japanese animation, known as anime, which has become increasingly popular in the Western Hemisphere over the last ten years.

SunniCon attracted anime fans from all over the North-East, and beyond, with its selection of exhibition stands, art workshops, celebrity appearances, panels, cosplay, and contests.

Donna Yeoman, chairwoman of the organising committee and a keen fan of the anime One Piece, said:

We chose NEAS because we have quite a lot of autistic attendees, and they come to our event because they see it as a safe place that they can be themselves and feel more relaxed, so it is definitely a charity that fits well with our events.

My Son has also recently been diagnosed as autistic, so NEAS is a charity very close to my heart. I'd Like to say a big thank you to everyone who attended, and to everyone who donated items for our fantastic charity auction, which has raised such a brilliant amount for a deserving charity. 

Our fundraising manager, Kevin Meikle, whose favourite anime is the 1998 feature-length hit Akira, said:

This is a great example of an enthusiastic community coming together and mobilising their shared passion to make a fantastic contribution to the region.

We’re very grateful to Donna and the rest of the organising committee for selecting us as SunniCon’s chosen charity this year, and to everyone who attended the convention.