Spark

Presenters from 107 Spark FM will this week spend three days chained together inside a cage at a North East shopping centre as they face a series of ‘I’m a Celebrity’-style challenges designed to raise money for a worthy cause.

107 Spark FM based at the University of Sunderland, have organised the Christmas ‘Lock- In’ at Sunderland’s Bridges Shopping Centre, where they have a new broadcasting studio.

On Friday (December 9) the Spark presenters, whose identities will remain secret until they enter the studio, will spend two nights chained up in a cage, eating, sleeping and tackling gruelling challenges together, set by their colleagues and members of the public, in a bid to be crowned King or Queen of the Hub on Sunday, December 11.

The event is all in aid of North East-based charity ‘If You care Share’, which aims to encourage young people to share their problems and give also support to those families bereaved by suicide. The group was set up in 2005 by Shirley and Dean Smith following the death of Shirley’s 19-year-old son Daniel O’Hare, who hanged himself at home without any indication he was suffering personal problems. His younger brother Matthew, then aged 10, and cousin Sarah, then aged 13, developed the idea of encouraging young people to talk to someone about problems they may be experiencing, preventing another tragedy such as Daniel’s.

The presenters’ lock-in will be continuously broadcast by 107 Spark FM, there will also be a live webcam and running commentary through social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.
 Alongside the entertainment aspect of the event, the show will be underpinned by interviews and informative features designed to highlight and educate the audience about the issue of suicide.

Shirley, 45, from Great Lumley, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, said: “We are delighted that the 107 Spark FM team is supporting our charity and I’m extremely touched by the efforts the students are making. They’re working really hard to make this a huge success. It’s also a great opportunity to reach out to young people and let them know about the issues surrounding suicide.”

Spark Programme Controller Ivan Lehane said: “As Spark’s newly appointed programme controller, I feel privileged to be a part of this new charity initiative, which works within our community to support those in need of help all year round.”

As part of the build up to the lock-in, the Spark team have set up a series of fundraising events all this week to raise as much money as possible for If You Care Share. Students have been out in the city with collection buckets, selling wristbands and T-shirts.

There will be an online auction to giveaway a signed football shirt from Manchester City player Micah Richards: a long standing supporter of the charity whose own childhood friend Daniel Nelson took his own life.

On Wednesday (December 7) Lady Gaga tribute act, Totally Gaga (Allison Reay), will be parading through the university campuses alongside the fundraising Spark team to help boost the charity coffers at 1.30pm.
Listeners to 107 Spark FM are able to donate via ‘Just Text Giving’ provided by Vodafone, and live updates of any money raised will be given on air.

Sam Willey, Spark Head of News and Current Affairs, said: “This is an incredibly worthy cause which the whole team feel passionate about. We just want as many people from the community as possible to get involved and help us raise as much money as possible.”

Daniel O’Hare was 19 years old when, without any warning, he took his own life. He had no previous history of mental health problems nor had he shown any outward signs of his intentions. 
Daniel was a normal 19-year-old young man, who was extremely popular and well known in his local community. He had a large amount of good friends and a family that loved him.
He loved football, spending time with friends and socialising and also had a job managing a family on-line retail business.

To this day his family remain devastated by their loss and still are no nearer to understanding Daniel’s choice of action on that day.
Daniel’s brothers Matthew and Ben along with his cousin Sarah (then aged 10, 5 & 13) hoped to do something positive and try and prevent a family suffering a similar experience. They wanted to create a lasting memory to Daniel and created the idea of If U Care Share.

They developed a wristband that carried their message “If U Care Share” to encourage young people to “SHARE” problems instead of burying them within.
Due to receiving support from a family friend (Suzanne), who was a Samaritan, the children started to raise awareness for this organisation and eventually raised over £48,000, which was utilised on young people’s projects within the Samaritan’s North East region.

Now the group is a Charity in its own right. It has three aims: Prevention, Intervention & Support of bereaved by suicide.

For more information, contact the charity on 0191 387 5661, mobile: 07714595882 or e-mail: share@ifucareshare.co.uk

You can listen/watch the Lock In via www.SparkSunderland.com.