Nostalgic Bigg Market Reunion bar crawl raises more than £36,000 for new Daft As A Brush ambulance

Bigg Market Reunion organisers - Stella McKevitt, Chris 'the Disc' Langshaw, Andrea Johnstone and Andy Metcalfe - pose with the new ambulance
-Credit: (Image: Daft As A Brush)

When revellers of years gone by got together for a Bigg Market Reunion event they also helped to fund vital equipment for a cancer charity.

Earlier this year, a Bigg Market Reunion event - organised by former DJ Chris ‘the Disc’ Langshaw - returned to the bars of Newcastle for a second consecutive year, following the huge success of the first event. Exceeding any expectations, an incredible £36,000 was raised by Geordies taking part on behalf of cancer charity, Daft As A Brush, for a new ambulance.

The epic bar crawl that took place on May 5, sold out of tickets weeks before the event. Once again, money raised through ticket sales, bar donations, raffles and collections, are set to go towards charities across the North East.

Now the new Daft As A Brush ambulance, named ‘The Bigg Market Posse’, is officially on the roads and ready to join the existing fleet of 45 ambulances that transport thousands of cancer patients to and from the Royal Victoria Infirmary and Freeman Hospitals in Newcastle, from as far afield as North Yorkshire and West Cumbria.

Based in Gosforth, and running since 2011, Daft As A Brush provides patients a free of charge service, transporting them to and from cancer treatments. Funded entirely through donations, the ambulance service is made possible by the hard working staff and volunteers.

The new ambulance, now ready to head out onto the roads, features a design on the back doors, in reference to the Bigg Market reunion that helped fund it.

Artwork on the new 'The Bigg Market Posse' ambulance
Artwork on the new 'The Bigg Market Posse' ambulance -Credit:Daft As A Brush

The brightly coloured illustration depicts a scene looking up from the bottom of the Cloth Market. It features the busy outside of Balmbras bar on the right and shows the warm atmosphere of Bigg Market night out.

All of this was made possible by a simple request on a Facebook page for a reunion. Chris, and fellow organisers Andy Metcalfe, Stella McKevitt and Ella Mott, met to organise some form of get together, primarily focused on reliving the fun old days of the 'Bigg Market era' of 1985-2000.

Intended to raise funds in memory of George Elliot, former DJ at the Groat House, who had used Daft As A Brush patient services, the organisers decided to make a day of it surrounded by old friends, and charge £10 a ticket to be donated to the charity.

Andy Metcalfe, fellow organiser of the Bigg Market Reunion event recalled how not only was the initial goal reached, but surpassed and said: "What started out as a very small idea, thinking maybe 300 people might come along just to one bar, the Old George, exploded into 1,800 people.

"Thirteen original DJs from those days also took part to make it a sensational day... Meeting old friends, reliving memories together, whilst making new friends," he added.

The event, which spanned to several venues on the Bigg Market, including Market Shaker, Cosy Joes and Pumphreys, saw many Geordies once again this year don their best 80s and 90s themed outfits and celebrate a good night out.

Andrea Johnstone, Chris 'the Disc' Langshaw, Stella McKevitt and Andy Metcalfe last year after the first successful reunion
Andrea Johnstone, Chris 'the Disc' Langshaw, Stella McKevitt and Andy Metcalfe last year after the first successful reunion -Credit:Daft As A Brush

Andy explained how rewarding it was after the success of raising the money, which originally the organisers didn't think would surpass £5,000, to achieve such a goal, he said: “Daft as a Brush, we’ve paid for your ambulance. It was quite a proud thing to say meeting with them.”

Last year, general manager of Daft As A Brush, Alan Butler, told the Chronicle how "truly extraordinary the thoughtfulness and generosity shown by organisers of the reunion, and those who bought tickets" had been, following the first April 2023 reunion event.

He added: "Daft As A Brush is a lifeline for many cancer patients in the North East. The services help to make many cancer treatment a little bit easier, reduce stress and the worry of getting to and from hospital. A huge thank you to everyone who was involved with this remarkable initiative."