Mission Christmas started back in November with the lofty target of raising £1m worth of toys for underprivilaged kids living in Greater Manchester. I had worked fleetingly this campaign in 2012 and was struck by the enormity of the whole thing. The fact that the Arco warehouse – Mission HQ – was brimmed with toys, the constant ringing of phones with listeners wanted to get involved, the many drop-off points. I think in 2012 around £850k was raised both in toys and cash donations for the cause, which was awesome.
I didn’t feel my involvement in 2012 was much of note, and having stepped up my role at Key103 in 2013, I was eager to get amongst it and help make a difference.
It’s always very easy to be blase about charity, what with the mass of organisations out there all doing a stirling job for the great many worldly causes, it’s too easy to bury ones head in the sand. I wanted to at least try and make whoever listening to Key103 to stop and truly put themself in the shoes of somebody in the UK, in this day-and-age, NOT recieving a Christmas present. It was a heartbreaking thought on the surface of it, and when I actually delved deeper, it became apparent just how much this appeal meant. It was an education for me, too.
Over the course of the campaign I recorded a whole range of society in Greater Manchester. Asylum seekers, widows, disabled parents – you get the picture. I also spoke to some children at local primary school, who brought to life the very reason Mission Christmas exists. To hear them explain to me how Mission makes them feel – how they felt that kind donations made them think somebody cares – was the epitome of the campaign, for me.
Hearing this content come to life on-air provided quite a few proud moments, because the reaction from listeners proved the messages were hitting home. The OBs I produced from the Hamleys intu Trafford Centre and the Arco Warehouse showed just how massive the whole operation was. It was ridiculous to walk in to the toy-store of these places (well, Arco was one big toy-store), and see the outrageous volume of donations, it was genuinly awesome.
I felt very humble over Christmas, as I reflected on the work that not just myself but the whole Key103 and Cash For Kids team had put in. To raise, in the end, £1,070,611.86p worth of toys was absolutely incredible. For the 150,000 impoverished kids in Greater Manchester, Key103 made a difference to their Christmas.
I interviewed Jimmy, and after hearing his story I went back with presenter Adam Catterall and produced this film. It really was an real eye-opener.
Another film I produced as part of the campaign was totally different. I produced it as part of the show I usually work on, Key103 Hometime. OJ Borg boarded the Flight Of Dreams, which put 50 families on a plane (most of whom would be experiencing a flight for the first time), and flew them to find Santa Claus…