Sunderland radio station named top for charities in national awards

Dated: 05/12/2011'Sunderland University students from Spark FM (left to right)   Ivan Lehane, Richie Lee, Lucy Puffield and Sam Willey who will be holding a series of fundraising events including three presenters being locked in a cage for three days for the charity 'If You Care Share' which supports families affected by suicide. 'Fao Helen Franks Sunderland University Press Office ... #NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia
Dated: 05/12/2011'Sunderland University students from Spark FM (left to right) Ivan Lehane, Richie Lee, Lucy Puffield and Sam Willey who will be holding a series of fundraising events including three presenters being locked in a cage for three days for the charity 'If You Care Share' which supports families affected by suicide. 'Fao Helen Franks Sunderland University Press Office ... #NorthNewsAndPictures/2daymedia
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STUDENTS are going ga-ga over a Sunderland radio station.

The North East’s youngest station is celebrating today after being named the UK’s Charity Champion Station at a national awards ceremony.

Spark scooped the charity accolade during the 2012 I Love Student Radio awards at the Student Radio Conference which is being held at Bradford University this year.

The Sunderland-based station picked up the award for its work with If You Care Share, a charity which raises awareness of suicide in young people.

For three days Spark presenters Jodie Bryant, Ethan O’Leary and Calum Hider were locked away in a cage to raise money. The station continues to support the charity.

Fred Marden, Spark station director, said: “This award recognises a great example of community media, giving people a voice that they so richly deserve.

“We wanted to support the work of If You Care Share in highlighting a critical concern for young people and their families everywhere. We plan to work even more closely with the North East charity in the months to come.”

Ivan Lehane, Spark programme controller, said: “Prevention, intervention and support – three words that were embedded into my mind when I first saw the If You Care Share foundation working with people affected by suicide. Having seen the fantastic work that this charity does, I felt that Spark FM needed to highlight the issues that surround suicide.

“With the support of up to 50 volunteers and many local businesses, the ‘Lock In’ was the biggest event Spark has organised to date. It was a roaring success, highlighting the serious issues around suicide and also raising more than £2,000.

“To be acknowledged by our fellow peers is brilliant and rewarding but to be told that the money we have raised has saved lives makes me extremely proud.”

The awards night also saw former Spark station manager Lee Sevenoaks and former head of music Rachael Devine picking up honours for services to the Student Radio Association.

The station was launched in September 2009. It is the only radio station in the North East focusing specifically on issues affecting young people.

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