Presenters bid to smash records by playing them

Koast Radio presenters Jamie Thirlwell and Sarah Stewart.
Koast Radio presenters Jamie Thirlwell and Sarah Stewart.

A NEW community radio station plans to smash a record next week in a bid to stage the longest ever show.

Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles and his on-air partner Dave Vitty took the Guinness World Record for longest marathon radio DJ team show in March with a 52-hour broadcast in aid of Comic Relief.

But now Longhirst-based presenters Sarah Stewart and Jamie Thirlwell are hoping to go even further, with a 55-hour show for Koast Radio.

The record attempt will raise money for Sara’s Hope Foundation, which runs a holiday retreat in Crete for young people with cancer and their families.

For Sarah, the challenge is particularly daunting as she only joined the station a few weeks ago and her longest broadcast to date is four hours.

But as soon as she heard about the fund-raising aspect she was determined to give it a go.

“I’m friends with the people who set up Sara’s Hope Foundation, who are based in the same building where I work, and I have been involved in other fund-raising things for them so when I heard that the record attempt was on behalf of the foundation I was really keen to do it,” she said.

“I think I’ll be able to manage, failure is not an option. With Jamie there I’m sure we’ll keep each other going and the support from the north east people for the foundation is overwhelming so that will help us as well.

“The longest show I’ve done so far is four hours so this will be a little bit more, but I listened to Chris Moyles when he was doing his record attempt and since I became involved with this challenge I’ve watched the last hour of it on Youtube and he seemed fine.”

Jamie has already been in training for the event with a trial run of 44 hours last week and he is confident of success.

“I’m excited and a bit nervous at the moment, but I’m quietly confident,” he said.

“I have been to Australia and around the world as a DJ and the longest session I have done is 32 hours so this should be fine.

“I’m trying to build up stamina, that’s what it’s all about. I’m sure we’ll come up with something to keep the show going and it will be a bit of a laugh as well. It’s all for a good cause. I know we have about 10,000 listeners and they can text donations in during the show so if we get to £10,000 I will be absolutely over the moon.”

The idea for the record attempt was suggested by Station Manager Vicky Oakley to make the most of a trial FM licence, as well as raise funds for a good cause.

She said: “We are doing trial FM broadcasts at the moment because we have a month’s licence ahead of the full licences going out next year. We didn’t just want to waste the opportunity and wanted to do something special with it.

“We will have different guests coming in during the 55 hours to help keep the presenters going. Sarah and Jamie are a bit daunted by it all, but they are more excited because the foundation is close to both their hearts. It’s a very long time to go without sleep, but they’re determined to do it.”

Sara’s Hope Foundation was inspired by the late Sara Hoburn, who was nicknamed their ‘smiling star’ by staff at the Teenage Cancer Unit in Newcastle’s RVI for her upbeat attitude and caring nature towards others.

She particularly spent a lot of time with younger children in the ward and wrote a book, My Journey Through Cancer, to help children and teenagers through their illness and give them hope.

When she died in January 2001 at the age of 16, her family set up the foundation to provide the Greek respite villa in her memory.

Koast Radio will begin its record attempt on Thursday, September 15 at 7am.

The presenters will be able to have five minute breaks every hour and two CCTV cameras will record the whole attempt. There must also be two other people in the studio throughout the show.

Equipment has been provided by 20-20 Vision and Richard Hardie.

Listeners can tune in at 87.7FM or and can text donations of £2, £3 or £5 to SARA01 £2 to 70070, altering the amount as they wish.