Local BBC radio stations get specials with Suggs and Sharlene Spiteri

Suggs and Sharlene Spiteri will each present a special ‘Make A Difference’ award winners show across all Local BBC Radio stations this Easter.

The 60-minute specials will broadcast across all 39 local BBC radio stations from 9am on Good Friday 29 March and Easter Monday 1 April and will then be available on BBC Sounds.

For the Easter special, Suggs, who has sold millions of records worldwide and toured the globe multiple times with Madness, met ‘Make a Difference’ winners Neil and Nicky Halford from Somerset. The pair won the fundraising award at BBC Radio Somerset’s ceremony last year.

They raised over £1.2 million pounds for their charity called ‘Time is Precious’ which they set up after their 18-month-old son Ben died from an aggressive brain tumour. The charity makes the experience of staying in hospital easier for children and their families in the Southwest.

Nicky tells Suggs: “We spent a lot of time in hospital with our son Ben, and when we lost him, we knew we wanted to do something to help families and children to support them.”

Commenting, Suggs said: “I can’t imagine what you went through, and you’ve raised an incredible amount of money to help people and that’s amazing.”

Texas’ lead singer Sharleen Spiteri got to meet Deb Clode from Cumbria, who won the award for being a great neighbour at BBC Radio Cumbria’s Make a Difference awards last year.

Deb setup the village WhatsApp group and buddy system to keep nearly two thousand people in Cummersdale updated and find help during the pandemic. The group is still active today. Deb also regularly goes above and beyond for neighbours in the village – helping with technology, running errands, and organising lifts or prescription pickups for the elderly community.

Deb said: “There’s a lot of elderly people in our village and we are a bit of a lifeline for them.”

Sharleen said: “That’s amazing, even having that chat with somebody is great. I got chatting in a supermarket a few times. Community is everything and getting to know neighbours and people living around you is important. Keeping an eye on people around you is really something important.”

Chris Burns, Controller Local Radio Commissioning, said: “Easter is a very special time in the calendar and its lovely to hearour ‘Make A Difference’ awards winners stories being told across England. So many people are still helping to support their communities and it’s our honour to give them the opportunity to meet their musical heroes.”

Special programming this Easter on Local BBC Radio begins on Friday 29 March with Make a Difference Thought for Good Friday, presented by The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd Dr John Inge, from 6am and followed later that day by a Make a Difference Award Winners Special with Texas between 9 – 10am and again at 5pm.

On Easter Sunday at 6am it’s Make a Difference Keeping Faith at Easter with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire presenter Louise Hulland followed by the Easter service led by Church of England vicar, musician and broadcaster theReverend Geoffrey Eze. This will feature prayers, hymns and readings from 7am.

There will also be a special reading by the Bishop of Kirkstall Arun Arora.

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