Joe McElderry's powerful concert at Durham Cathedral to help mental health charity
A concert by Joe McElderry at Durham Cathedral has raised more than £18,000 for a North East mental health charity.
The X Factor winner wooed more than 400 guests in the historic venue last weekend, boosting funds for Chester-le-Street charity If U Care Share.
Joe, who is a patron of the mental health and suicide prevention foundation, entertained fans for more than two hours with a range of musical hits, old classics from artists such as Queen and Abba and even the odd Christmas song.
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He appeared with his pianist Jen Stevens and backing throughout the night was provided by the South Shields Serenity Singers.
The evening also included a meet and greet for VIP guests at the nearby Hotel Indigo Durham where more than 50 lucky guests had the chance to meet the South Shields-born singer, who became the sixth winner of the TV talent show, X Factor in 2009.
Hotel Indigo food and beverage manager Kirsty Worne said: “It was a wonderful night, a fantastic concert and hopefully, coming here to the hotel added to the experience for Joe’s fans.
“This is the perfect venue for a VIP event and it was lovely to see so many people here.
“Many of them had never been to the hotel before and some didn’t even know we were here, so it was fantastic to have those people in seeing what the hotel has to offer and what we are all about.
“But it was not just about the hotel, it was about raising awareness for the charity and helping them to create a really successful and special event.
“It was an incredible night, in a such a beautiful setting, and it has raised a lot of money for the charity. We’re so happy to have been a part of it.”
The boutique Hotel Indigo, set in the former Durham University offices at Old Shire Hall in Old Elvet, are longstanding supporters of If U Care Share which was established nearly 20 years ago.
Earlier this year the charity’s founders Matthew and Shirley Smith held a workshop for hotel staff to help them deal with any mental health issues as a result of the Covid lockdowns and subsequent return to work.
Since then, the hotel has helped raise funds with specially made non-alcoholic and alcoholic cocktails and have just launched two new treats for guests for the festive period which are for sale throughout the hotel bars, restaurants and cafe.
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Kirsty added: “The hotel’s general manager Tom Orange and I were very keen to support If U Care Share and the workshop they provided for the staff had a massive impact on the whole team.
“We were very fortunate that we didn’t have to make any redundancies through the pandemic but like everyone, people in the hospitality industry did struggle with aspects of their mental health, and coming back to work, and it is essential we support them and they know they are in a really supported environment.
“All of our staff haver embraced If U Care Share and the support they provide., It is a wonderful partnership and one we are keen to build on with events like the meet and greet,.
“The staff retention here and the camaraderie among the staff is the best I have known in a long time in hotels and that comes from Tom and the support we provide.”
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