Families celebrate with some of music's biggest stars

by Sunderland AFC

Special day out for local families.

Five North East families, who have battled against illness and adversity, are being given the chance to celebrate their achievements in the company of some of music’s biggest stars.

This Sunday (June 22), thousands of music lovers from across the UK will descend on Sunderland’s Stadium of Light for blinkbox music North East Live, headlined by chart-topping superstar Jessie J. 

Among them will be Claire and John Lindsay and their children, Jennifer, six, and Jon, 14, who were left heartbroken by a devastating diagnosis eight years ago.

“When John fell seriously ill with a very rare brain virus in 2006 our whole world was turned upside down,” Claire said.  “Thankfully, after a long time in intensive care, he began to make a slow but steady recovery and gradually became well enough to return home.

“Since then John has continued to improve but he’s unfortunately been left with a permanent brain injury, along with memory impairments and epilepsy, which means he is unable to work and I have to act as his full-time carer.

“All of this has affected the children in so many ways and we’re now trying to do everything we can to build bridges as a family.  We all love music, so attending blinkbox music North East Live will be an amazing opportunity for us to spend some quality time together and be like a ‘normal’ family, if only for the day.”

The Lindsay family, from Sunderland, are one of five from across the North East who were awarded free tickets to blinkbox music North East Live, by event organisers SAFC and AEG Live. 

Other winners in the competition, designed to find the region’s most deserving families, include Diane Bain, whose 12 year-old daughter has been bullied since being diagnosed with autism and Kim Dobson, who entered her nine year old daughter Gabrielle as a thank you for acting as her carer while she battled cancer.

Megan Abbot, from Jarrow, was nominated as a deserving recipient by her mum Louise Errington, who said she was proud of the way the 10 year-old has coped with the “pain and fatigue” caused by her juvenile arthritis, while “positive and happy” Sam Quinn, from Sunderland, was put forward by his mum, Michelle, who wanted to indulge the 12 year-old’s love of music, which has developed despite the learning disabilities and physical impairments caused by cerebral palsy.

All five families have now been given free tickets to blinkbox music North East Live, where they will see a host of big-names stars including Jessie J, Rizzle Kicks, The Saturdays, Jason Derulo, Katy B, Union J, The Vamps, Austin Mahone, Neon Jungle and Rixton.

Gary Hutchinson, commercial director for SAFC, said: “We had so many amazing entries for our blinkbox music North East Live deserving families’ competition.  It was very hard to choose just a handful of winners, but these stories really stood out to us in the way the families had been able to pull together in the face of some very difficult circumstances.

“I hope that they all enjoy an amazing day at the Stadium of Light and would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to them all.”

A number of tickets, priced from £25, are still available for blinkbox music North East Live at www.safcconcerts.com, or www.uklive.co.uk/north-east

More information is also available at www.facebook.com/UKLiveOfficial or by following @north_eastlive on Twitter.