THE North Eastern Counties AA is indebted to a generous cash donation from one of it's long-serving highly thought of leading technical officials. North Shields Poly's Bernard Johnson recently celebrated his 80th birthday and a host of family, friends and fellow athletics' officials got together to celebrate the occasion and to show their appreciation donated over £900 which Bernard, who was taken aback by it all, immediately passed it over to the Association. The amount raised came as a big surprise to Bernard who is more often than not involved with throwing events in the region and he had no hesitation in forwarding the cheque over with the intention of the money being used to help purchase badly-needed technology equipment. Bernard, who admitted he was amazed at the generosity of those who helped celebrate his birthday, said: "Our sport has to move with the time and, here in the North East, we are desperately short of electronic equipment. In passing over the money to the North East Counties I'm hopeful that they can see it's way clear to purchase some much-needed implements to help our athletes progress. I've been in athletics many, many years and in this day and age we have to give them every opportunity to go on to get the best out of the sport and if we can acquire up-to-date technology then that will be a huge step forward.