The Real Variety Heroes – Superheroes Need a Lifeline...
A local arm of a national charity stands to lose out on much-needed funds next week, as a marketing initiative, due to raise thousands of pounds for their cause has hit a crisis.
Local businesses in the region jumped on board with a unique fund raising campaign launched recently, but now they need your help, as some of the companies and individuals have had to pull out at the last minute. This has caused chaos and businesses and individuals are desperately needed to come on board to rescue the campaign, Superhero style!
Local photographer Ian Berry of Ian Berry Photography based in South Shields, has created a super fundraising campaign, and drafted in the help of Newcastle based media agency JAM Marketing to help raise as much money as possible for one of the region’s largest children’s charities, Variety, the Children’s Charity. The idea was that companies and individuals get dressed up for a week (or one day from the week) as their favourite superhero and get people to sponsor them in order to raise funds and aptly named The Real Variety Heroes.
With the minimum of 10 local businesses on board, the campaign was set to raise a significant amount of money, which is vital to improving the lives of sick, disabled and disadvantaged children in the North East, until this week, when three of the organisations had to withdraw, throwing the campaign off course.
Ian Berry tells us:
“Monday morning this week came, one week until the event and I get a call from JAM Marketing, telling me that three of the organisations participating have had to withdraw their support for varying reasons. My first thought was, I can’t let these kids down, the money we’re set to raise will make a massive difference to their lives, and I can’t even think about sacrificing that.”

Ian goes on to explain:
“The Real Variety will be spending a week in fancy dress, as their favourite superhero, whether they’re out and about with friends, doing the weekly shop or picking their kids up from school, everything will be done as their chosen hero.”
Trocaderos and Bar 44 South Shields, The Cyprus Pub Chichester, Benjamin Ryan and his team from Smooth Motion Pictures, The Dunes South Shields, Hungry Horace Sandwich Shop Newcastle based Karen James from The Demystifier have also thrown their capes into the ring, to help raise as much money as possible.
Jackie Marston, managing director of JAM Marketing said:

“It’s a devastating blow to find out that not only so close to the campaign commencing, participants have had to withdraw, but also so close to Christmas the other heroes are faced with the fact that many of the children and families who could have benefited from the money we will all raise, are now in jeopardy of not receiving that support."

“We are now issuing a desperate plea to all organisations, from any area in the region to please grab your mask, your cape and most importantly your telephone and get in contact with us and come on board. We must have at least 10 companies on board to make it worthwhile for the charity. Anyone interested should contact us on 0845 900 2127 for a participation pack. We are ready and waiting to sign you up and hopefully, together we’ll give as many children as possible, a brighter future.”
Ian Berry Photography Studio has been open in South Shields since 2010 and Ian has almost 20 years experience, covering all aspects of weddings, commercial, portrait and industrial photography. On Thursday 8th November 5-8pm the Ian Berry Studio will be having an open-night to focus on all the week’s activities of the participants in their outfits and pictures will be on display for all to see. South Tyneside’s Mayor and Mayoress (Councillor Eileen Leask and Councillor Olive Punchion) will be in attendance and a buffet from the best sandwich bar in the region; Hungry Horace will be served along with refreshments. Chairman of the Northern Region of Variety, the Children’s Charity; Tony Thornton will also be on hand to say a few words about what the charity does for the sick, disabled and disadvantaged children in the region too. As well as raising money by spending the week in fancy dress, the open evening will see all of the superheroes selling raffle tickets and taking donations to make sure that Variety can help as many of the needy causes in the North East as possible.
Ian Berry has pledged to donate his time for the course of the campaign, by following the participants and taking pictures of them as they go about their daily routine, and displaying them on Facebook and Twitter creating a viral campaign.
All donations will be made available via the JAM Marketing JustGiving page, visit www.justgiving.com/JAM-Marketing Alternatively, you can simply text JAMV99 followed by your amount to 70070 (E.g. Text- JAMV99 £5-to 70070) All of those participating in the Real Variety Heroes campaign will be accepting donations throughout the week, if you see any superheroes in your local supermarket or even at the gym, ask them if they’re one of Variety’s Real Heroes.
Tony Thornton, Chairman of the Northern Region of Variety, the Children’s Charity concluded:

“We sincerely hope that as the campaign draws closer, there will be an increase in participants, Ian Berry and the team at JAM Marketing have worked so hard on this event, and the children we’ve told about it can’t wait to see the superheroes around town and in their local shops! We rely solely on the various fundraising events ran by our supporters, and I can’t thank the Real Heroes of Variety enough for their latest endeavour. And, you never know, I may dig out my Superman costume myself!”
The Northern branch of Variety, the Children’s Charity, is one of the largest regional groups, covering from the borders of Scotland, across to Cumbria and down past Teesside. Regular fundraising events are frequently supported by high profile local celebrities, including Alan Shearer and Sting. To find out more about the work of Variety nationwide visit www.varietyclub.org.uk, and for details of Variety in the North contact chairman Tony Thornton on 0191 214 5959 or email north@variety.org.uk.
Ian Berry Photography offers a wide range of different packages, which can be individually tailored to suit your requirements; you can also choose between an extensive range of print options, framed pictures and a selection of images on disc. Ian Berry Photography Studio is conveniently situated in the heart of South Shields, for more information on the services on offer visit the website www.ianberry.co.uk call 07980 710 750 or email info@ianberry.co.uk.

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