Four Northumberland communities turned out in force in June in support of a beloved local project. Record sell-out attendances at all 5 Punch-Drunk comedy gigs in June resulted in over £1000 being raised for various local charities and huge donations made on behalf of the Punch-Drunk Army to food banks in the area.
Over 1,200 people congregated across 5 consecutive events from 19th-23rd June at 4 different social clubs in Blyth, Bedlington, Ashington and Cramlington. The party started with Kids Club on Sunday afternoon in Blyth where over 150 kids of all ages were entertained by Lee Kyle’s Gunge Show – an hour of fun-filled carnage topped off with the regular Punch-Drunk appearances by Disney characters from Infusion Dance Parties & Events and Hooray Soft Play’s portable soft play equipment.
After putting out a plea on social media to the project’s supporters and regular audience members to resume their help with supporting local food banks at June’s events – as had become the monthly tradition during the project’s first year in 2015 through small donations brought along to the gigs by each audience member – the organisers were blown away by the bigger-than-ever reaction which started on Sunday at the Kids Club and continued through all of the adults shows, resulting in huge donations being amassed by the end of the week.
Punch-Drunk’s Lauren Douglass described the reaction of the Punch-Drunk Army to the “last-minute plea” as “completely overwhelming.” Speaking of the importance of the support from the Punch-Drunk Army for the project more generally since its launch in January 2015, Lauren explained that “without all of the communities taking Punch-Drunk to their hearts from the beginning and the Punch-Drunk Army fast-becoming the most talked about audiences in the world, we could never have hoped to be presenting acts like June’s headliner Reg D. Hunter – or Pete Johansson who is fresh from launching his first hour-long special on Netflix prior to his visit to Punch-Drunk in July.”
In related news, the charity supported by Punch-Drunk’s Blyth gig – Princess Ellie’s Trust, are storming towards their new target of £200,000 raised for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at the RVI and The Meningitis Research Foundation – after hitting the £100,000 mark after only 5 years of fundraising, late last year. Their most recent event Fighting for Ellie Season 2, held at Blyth Sports Centre in April, entertained over 800 people and the final fundraising total has just been announced as an incredible £22,751.82.
With just over £6000 of this diverted to helping local causes such as ENGAGE (an alternative secondary education provision based on Blyth’s Kitty Brewster Industrial Estate) and George’s Journey (which fundraises for Muscular Dystrophy UK in honour of Blyth lad George Pegg) this is huge news for Blyth and another indication of the current uprising of positive things happening in our corner of the world.
July’s Punch-Drunk offering consists of Martin Mor’s ‘Funny Stuff for Happy People’ for the little ones on Sunday 17th from 3pm – followed by 4 adults’ shows from 18th-21st featuring TV’s Pete Johansson and John Fothergill alongside Dan Willis and Punch-Drunk favourite Adam Row.
You can find all of the timing, venue and other important details on Facebook – just search ‘Punch-Drunk Comedy – Blyth’, then simply text Gav on 07738663379 to reserve your tickets, giving your full name, required venue and number of seats!
The food bank collection will be becoming a regular feature again from now on, so don’t forget your tin of beans! The full list of accepted items can be found on Punch-Drunk’s Facebook page.