Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 10.15.17A local charity will receive almost £3,500 raised by students who gave up their weekend to spend 24 hours gaming – triple the figure raised by the group last year.

The Willow Burn hospice was chosen as the beneficiary of this year’s 24-hour gameathon event, held by the Newcastle University Computing and Technology Society (NUCATS) with the support of local businesses. And although still totting up the totals, initial indications are that Willow Burn will receive at least triple the amount raised at the 2015 gameathon.

The latest record follows last month’s Newcastle Coding Challenge, a partnership between bespoke software development consultancy Scott Logic, and NUCATS, which also broke records as the winning team made a virtual profit of more than £35,000, competing to create the most successful share-buying algorithm. The Coding Challenge also led to Scott Logic adding its support to this weekend’s gameathon, strengthening its existing relationship with NUCATS and Newcastle University.

Chris McQueen, one of the gameathon organisers said: “The 2016 gameathon was an incredible success! Thanks to everyone who fundraised, donated, volunteered, participated and sponsored the event. A big thanks also to the organisers Eva Theodoridou, Harry Large and Danwen Huang.

“We raised over £3,400 for the fantastic cause that is Willow Burn hospice. To put that into context, that is well over triple what we made when we launched the gameathon in 2015 (raising £1,080).

“What’s more, the community that was built over the duration of the event was wonderfully heartwarming; we had students bonding that would have never met before, and that made the event even more special.

“The venue was at capacity throughout, with 150 participants, and we were unable to let any more gamers in. The feedback for the event is already incredible and we are loving seeing everyone’s images on social media. The organisers will find it challenging to top such a monumental achievement next year.”

Students taking part were entertained with dozens of consoles, hundreds of games and a load of giveaways, competitions, intra-event tournaments, a raffle, a games quiz and even a bake sale to keep their energy up over the 24 hours, which NUCATS hoped would raise at least £1,500 for the Derwentside-based hospice.

Chris continued: “The volunteers at Willow Burn pour their souls into looking after terminally ill patients through thick and thin, which is why we chose to fundraise for them.

“Support from businesses such as Scott Logic, which provided prizes including a smartwatch, a Steam gaming controller and Amazon vouchers, was absolutely incredible and helped elevate the event to be a really special occasion for the gamers, allowing us to concentrate our efforts on fundraising and hosting one of the biggest events on campus.”

There is still time to support NUCATS and donate to the hospice via the team’s JustGiving page.