Some of Northern Ireland’s best known personalities have joined forces with local singer Jason Clarke to show their support for leading cancer charity CLIC Sargent’s Homes from Home appeal by taking part in a Christmas video which they’re hoping will go viral across the province.
Dressed in festive jumpers and Santa hats, some of our favourite celebrities – including Eamonn Holmes, Paul Rankin, Dame Mary Peters, Pamela Ballantine and Paddy Barnes, among other well-known faces from TV and radio, showed their humorous side by miming along to singer Jason’s variation of Slade’s Merry Christmas Everybody and joining in on some Christmas craic, all to raise awareness for the worthy cause and get people to dig deep this Christmas and donate.
Jason recorded the alternative version to the song and decided to organise the video after receiving thousands of online hits last year for his version of Shakin’ Stevens’ Merry Christmas Everyone which he filmed outside Belfast City Hall at midnight just four days before Christmas. This year, the video appeals to viewers to donate to CLIC Sargent’s Homes from Home appeal via Just Giving or text message and also to share the link on social media using the hashtag #CLICForChristmas.
Corporate Fundraising Manager for CLIC Sargent NI, Eimear McCooey said CLIC Sargent is overwhelmed by the support from our Northern Irish celebrities: “We’re absolutely beyond thrilled to have such great support from Jason and our local celebrities to help raise awareness of this important campaign.
“Every week in Northern Ireland, two families hear the devastating news that their child has cancer. On average, a family will make a round-trip of 95 miles, up to five times a week so that they can access the cancer treatment their child needs.
“The Homes from Home Appeal will provide free accommodation for families within walking distance of the two main hospitals, reducing the emotional and financial strain for families and, most importantly, providing a homely environment just a few minutes’ walk from the hospital ward, keeping the whole family together.”
Singer Jason said he had intended on doing another Christmas song this year but this time if he was going to get views, he wanted to get a message across at the same time for a cause close to his heart: “I wasn’t expecting last year’s video to get as much attention as it did, lots of people asked me what I was going to do this year so I thought it would be a great opportunity to support and raise awareness for the Homes from Home appeal, which is such a fantastic cause and one I’m really passionate about.”
Watch the video below or to donate to CLIC Sargent’s Homes from Home appeal visit www.justgiving.com/clicforchristmas or text SONG70 (followed by amount) e.g. £2 to 70070.
Quotes from the celebrities who took part:
“I’d never give up an opportunity to wear my favourite Christmas jumper, especially as CLIC Sargent’s Homes from Home appeal is such a worthwhile campaign. I think it’s brilliant that so many people got involved to help raise awareness. But I hope all those watching the video get involved too, with a quick text – we might learn something by watching the video, but we can help change someone’s life for the better by donating.” Eamonn Holmes, Broadcaster and Presenter and patron of the Homes from Home appeal (filmed at La Mon Hotel and Country Club)
“I was so pleased to be asked to be involved in this video. I thought it was a lovely idea and I had a wonderful time filming! How fantastic that so many were willing to have a good chuckle at themselves all in support of this wonderful appeal. Hopefully people will donate what they can this Christmas because I cannot begin to imagine how it might be for families of sick children who have to spend the day – and in fact the whole season – in hospital.” Dame Mary Peters, Olympic Gold Medallist (filmed at the Mary Peters’ Track)
“I’m always up for a bit of craic, especially at Christmas, and all the more when it’s for such a worthy cause. Filming was a lot of fun and I thought it was a great idea to get a bunch of us on board for a video that we hope will raise some much needed funds for CLIC Sargent’s Homes from Home appeal. If people like the video and have a laugh watching it, I’d ask that they please donate some money via their phone by texting SONG70 followed by the amount to 70070 – it couldn’t be easier.” Paul Rankin, celebrity chef (filmed at Hadskis)
“I have been involved in charitable work in Northern Ireland for many years now and regularly see how local charities provide support for individuals and families. When I was asked to get involved in the CLIC Sargent charity single I just couldn’t say ‘no’ as it is a great and fun way to get the message across to local people at this time of the year. The Homes from Home appeal is about bringing a little piece of home to the children in hospital by allowing families to stay close to the vital services at the City and Royal Hospitals. And this is so much more poignant at Christmas Time.” Paul Clark MBE (filmed at UTV)
“Usually I am put in the ring to raise money and awareness for charity, so at least no bruises came out of this effort, but sick children need the constant support of their family around them, so I’m really pleased that I was asked to do this video for such a good cause and actually be able to help out and support CLIC Sargent and all the brilliant work they do.” Paddy Barnes (filmed at North Queen Street Community Centre)
“CLIC Sargent is a wonderful charity offering support and information for children and young people with cancer and their families. Christmas is a very special time of the year for all, but more so if you have a sick child – every moment is, I imagine, precious. I hope those watching the video share the festive spirit by singing along to our charity single, sharing it on their social media and most importantly, by donating.” Marc Mallett, UTV News (filmed at Laganside courts)
“I love Jason’s singing and really adored his Christmas single last year, so it’s an honour to be part of this year’s one – mind you, the audiences are lucky it was Jason doing the singing and we all just mimed, as I know I, for one, am not planning on giving up the day job as a DJ! Christmas is my favourite day of the year – and it’s quickly becoming my daughter’s favourite day too – so let’s share the spirit and donate any spare cash to those less fortunate at this giving time of year.” Pete Snodden, Cool FM DJ (filmed at Belfast City Hall)
“I remember seeing Jason’s Christmas video last year and was really excited to be asked to take part this year, especially when I heard that it was aiming to raise awareness for the Homes from Home appeal. A nephew of a very good friend of mine passed away last year at a young age and his parents were helped by CLIC Sargent when they had to go to Bristol for his medical treatment, so this campaign is close to my heart. I hope the people of Northern Ireland enjoy the video and donate what they can this Christmas!”
Barra Best, BBC Weather, (Filmed on roof of CastleCourt)
“Within my role as Open + Direct Miss Northern Ireland, I’ve worked with a lot of children affected by cancer through my involvement with the NI Hospice. Many of the children I meet at the Hospice have also been helped in some way by CLIC Sargent, another wonderful charity dedicated to providing much needed support to these children and families, so I’m just thrilled to have played a small part in raising awareness for this important campaign.” Meagan Green, Open + Direct Miss Northern Ireland, (filmed at Custom House Square)
“I was absolutely delighted to have been invited to take part in Jason’s Christmas video – it’s always been a secret wish of mine to be a Doo-Wap style backing singer so when I was asked I jumped at the chance especially when I found out that it was for such a good cause. It is also an added bonus that you cannot hear me sing! The people of Northern Ireland are well known for their generosity and it was great to be involved with so many people who were prepared to make Eejits of themselves. I hope we inspire others to donate to such a worthy cause. To see a young child suffering from an illness is heartbreaking at any time of year but it is especially poignant at Christmas and I hope this video goes some way to making this Christmas a happy one for them.” Pamela Ballantine, TV Presenter & Broadcaster, (filmed at Titanic Belfast)
“Being a father, I can’t imagine Christmas without my kids. It’s the time of year when families come together, so that’s why I am glad to be involved with the Homes from Home appeal as it can help make those parents’ and children’s dreams of waking up and going to sleep moments from each other a reality at Christmas – and indeed the rest of the year round.” Gareth Stewart, Cool FM DJ (filmed at Scrabo Tower)
“We’ve done lots of work here at Cool FM with CLIC Sargent and see how vital they are for families caring for sick children. It can be a long trek for parents and families who aren’t from Belfast to visit their sick children in the major Belfast hospitals, and having a place to go to lay your head, or even just to have private parking, makes it that little bit easier. I’ve just sent my first text to donate, and I’m hoping my larking about at Scrabo Tower will encourage others to do so too.” Connor Phillips, Cool FM DJ (filmed at Scrabo Tower)
“Being separated from loved ones for any amount of time must be heartbreaking, but having to make long journeys to and from the hospital to visit a sick child, and having to leave your child alone overnight, well it just doesn’t bear thinking about. That’s why the Homes from Home appeal is so important, so that parents won’t have to be separated from their children during a very harrowing time.” Alan Simpson, BBC Radio Ulster DJ (filmed at Helen’s Bay)
“While we all had a lot of fun making the video, it was quite ironic singing along to a song about a merry Christmas and everybody having fun, when, for some families with sons, daughters, siblings or grandchildren with cancer, it’s not always so merry. I really hope that the lyrics about a future that’s only just begun will ring true for the families and that support from those watching the video will facilitate families who want to spend more time with their sick children.” Stephen Clements, Citybeat DJ (filmed with Citybeat presenters at Citybeat HQ)
“I met Jason last year when I played a character part in another music video and was really pleased when he asked me to take part in this one. Filming was great fun, I got some funny looks from people in St Anne’s Square as I was miming along in my Christmas jumper at the beginning of November, but it was all for a great cause. My message this Christmas will be to dig deep and donate!” Katie Larmour, Presenter & Model (filmed at St Anne’s Square)
“It’s easy to watch this video – and in fairness it might be easy to take the mickey out of all of us making fools of ourselves – but one thing’s for sure, it’s a whole lot easier to click onto the Justgiving.com webpage and donate even just a pound to help the Homes from Home Appeal. That pound could pay for just one brick or pay towards heating and light to let a family be close to a sick child in hospital.” Gerry Armstrong, Sports Commentator (filmed at Windsor Park)
“I’m lucky to have two very healthy young boys and would be heartbroken if myself and my wife were separated from either of them for any length of time, never mind having to face caring for a very sick child. I was delighted to be asked to film with Jason and of course for any Northern Ireland football fan the opportunity to duet with Gerry Armstrong in the middle of Windsor Park just could not be missed! I really hope this video encourages people to click on the Justgiving link and part with some cash to help others.” Graham Little, Sports Commentator (filmed at Windsor Park)
“Although I’m now living in Sydney, I’m still very much a boy from Northern Ireland. I am very honoured to play a little part in helping the CLIC Sargent’s Homes from Home appeal. I really hope the video brings awareness, raises much needed funds and helps bring some Christmas joy and maybe some laughter to sick children and their families at this special time of year.” Ciaran Gribbin, grammy nominated songwriter and frontman of INXS (filmed in Sydney, Australia)
List of personalities who took part in the video
Eamonn Holmes – Broadcaster Sky News and This Morning
Dame Mary Peters – Olympic Gold Medallist
Paddy Barnes – Boxer
Paul Rankin – Celebrity Chef
Pamela Ballantine – Journalist, UTV, Belfast Telegraph
Marc Mallett – Broadcast Journalist, UTV
Paul Clark – Broadcast Journalist, UTV
Connor Phillips and Gareth Stewart – DJs, Cool FM
Meagan Green – Miss Northern Ireland
Katie Larmour – Model and Presenter
Barra Best – Broadcast Journalist, BBC
Alan Simpson – DJ, BBC, Radio Ulster
Citybeat team – Owen Larkin, Sara Neill, Stephen Clements, Mark Lima, Stuart Banford
Graham Little – Sports Commentator
Gerry Armstrong – Sports Commentator
Pete Snodden – DJ, Cool FM
Ciaran Gribbin – front man of INXS and grammy nominated songwriter
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Ulster Life Magazine – December 2013