Newtownabbey woman features in charity single with Rick Astley

Rick Astley has teamed up with last year’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero award winners, including Leanne Evans from Glengormley, to record a charity single in aid of Children in Need.
Leanne with Rick Astley.Leanne with Rick Astley.
Leanne with Rick Astley.

Music legend Rick Astley is fronting a charity single, Every One of Us, to celebrate the Unsung Hero awards for 2020.

The 2019 regional winners of the Unsung Hero award, Captain Tom Moore and a host of sporting stars including Ben Stokes, Geraint Thomas and Dame Jessica Ennis Hill are also supporting the campaign and there are a number of special cameos in the music video.

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Olympic and Paralympic stars Tanni Grey-Thompson, Will Bailey, Kare Adenegan, Ellie and Beckie Downie, Sam Quek and Ellie Simmonds also appear in the video to show off their dancing and singing, along with Alex Scott, Gabby Logan and Gareth Thomas.

Raising funds for BBC Children in Need, the single will be the anthem for the awards in a year where keeping community spirits high has never been more important.

Commenting on the charity effort, Rick Astley said: “When I was asked to launch a single in honour of Unsung Hero and to raise money for BBC Children in Need I didn’t hesitate.

“Both are brilliant causes and I hope the song can bring a bit of joy and solidarity during what has been a strange and unprecedented year.”

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Alongside the single launch today (Tuesday, September 22), nominations for the Unsung Hero 2020 awards opened at 6am.

This year will see a new addition, as the Captain Tom: Young Unsung Hero award will be up for grabs for one young volunteer, who like the main award nominees has made a big difference in their local community through sport during Covid-19.

The Young Unsung Hero award will be named after Captain Tom in honour of his heroic efforts raising a whopping £38.9million for the NHS while walking laps of his garden in the run up to his 100th birthday.

The young winner will be selected from nominations across the UK and must be under 15 to be eligible.

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Both awards will see finalists from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and each of the 12 English regions.

Four nominees from the English Regions will join the national winners to form a top seven before the winner will be announced in December alongside the Young Unsung Hero.

The Unsung Hero awards will be supported by Made by Sport, a charity that champions the power of sport to change lives and to shine a light on the thousands of organisations successfully using sport to tackle major social issues.

The awards have also teamed up with BBC Local Radio’s Make a Difference campaign to shout about those who are helping their community during Covid-19.

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Launched by BBC Local Radio in March of this year, all 39 stations have been inviting listeners to highlight the stories of people making a positive difference in their area.

Director of Sport, Barbara Slater said: “Unsung Hero is about honouring the people who show up rain or shine to inspire people to take part in grassroots sports and make a real difference in their local area.

“During what has been a very difficult year, 2020 will feel extra special as we recognise those volunteers who helped keep their community going.”

Leanne Evans, who runs Fit Moms and Kids in Glengormley, picked up the BBC Get Inspired Unsung Hero Award for Northern Ireland in 2019.

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Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times about the fundraising effort, she said: “I’m more than delighted to raise money for Children in Need as many charitable organisations like ourselves will benefit from raising money for an amazing cause known to fund billions of children in need over the years.

“In helping raise funds for Children in Need, we play a part in helping disadvantaged children not only in Northern Ireland ,but children all over the UK.

“I have never performed in anything like this before, but feel Northern Ireland will be proud to have a little old Country Music lover from Newtownabbey taking part in a real live music video with someone as amazing as Rick Astley.

“I am hopeful that people from Northern Ireland and beyond will support us all by buying/downloading the single and mostly donating to Children in Need.

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“This was way out of my comfort zone, but for the greater good I went for it and am forever grateful for the opportunities winning the regional award for BBC Sports Unsung Hero 2019 has got, not just me, but my organisation Fit Moms and Kids.”

She added: “Throughout the pandemic I have seen a massive dip in anxiety and depression in females and teenagers alike, especially mothers of children on the autistic spectrum as no routine has had massive impacts on their moods. Thanks to backing from the National Lottery Foundation we will have an in-house counsellor on hand to help our females post covid and beyond.

“If all us 15 regional winners have stuck together from different countries through some of the toughest times in our history and managed to make a positive change to people’s moods through fitness and music combined, then I believe anything is possible.

“I want to share our hope and positivity throughout the community- after all we really are in it together.”

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Praising Leanne for her involvement in the charity initiative, Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Cllr Jim Montgomery said: “Leanne is a remarkable lady who has created this space where women and children can come together and enjoy the benefits of exercise and friendship.

“I would like to extend my congratulations to Leanne for the amazing work and lifeline she provides for these women. A mother of three children with special needs, Leanne knows first-hand of the demands on a mother.

“I am delighted Leanne has been recognised for the selfless work she does in the community and I wish her every success for the future. I recently visited Leanne at Fit Moms and Kids and was very impressed with the way the group operates and her ideas for future growth. I hope, with the right support, she is able to fulfil these growth plans and provide additional valuable services to the community.”

The single is available to download on all streaming and download services here. All net profits will go to BBC Children in Need.

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To nominate your Unsung Hero and Young Unsung Hero by video, audio, online webform or via email, visit Entries close on Sunday, October 25 at midnight.


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