As we head into our second Christmas under Covid, it’s been said we need another word to describe how exhausted we feel. Covi-tigue?
We want to wish all our clients, friends and creative colleagues some deserved space and time over the festive break to re-charge.
It’s been a heck of (another) year. So, let’s celebrate some of the resilience, humanity and creativity of 2021.
Here are our highlights.
A Chilly Challenge
In February, Clair literally took the plunge in the River Nidd, helping to raise over £30,000 for charity.
#FrostyFeb raised funds empowering young people to support and rebuild their communities post COVID-19 via the Archbishop of York Youth Trust.
Supporting Bear Grylls’ sister, Lara, with her own intrepid challenge, Clair secured BBC Look North, Sky News, Channel 5 News, the Yorkshire Post, BBC Radio York and BBC Radio 2, The Telegraph and The Independent. All helping to raise awareness and funds for the campaign.
Military help Medics
In March, we profiled Kinetic Six, led by former Special Forces soldier Shaun Levy.
After an NHS surgeon asked for help, struggling to communicate under layers of PPE, Shaun’s team created a new radio-comms system for hospital settings. We got the story on Sky news, BBC regional news, and British Forces Broadcasting (BFBS) which broadcast to over 30 countries, on Navy ships, and online. Kinetic Six launched KinetiMed – dedicated to providing vital communication tools to the medical frontline when saving lives.
Spring in our Step
April brought much-needed lightness. We positioned one of Europe’s biggest indoor children’s play centres set for Stockeld Park in The Times.
Spring was also celebrated in the stunning Selby Abbey, where Clair orchestrated a performance from world-class pianist Ke Ma with Besbrode Pianos. Our film featured spectacular drone footage by Gary Lawson, and the story featured in The Times; Clair went on to secure a major feature in China Daily – a key publication for the export market for Besbrode Pianos.
Playing all the right notes
May was magnificent thanks to the Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra (YSO). Tasked with PR for the Harewood Picnic Proms, we profiled the revival of the orchestra after it disbanded in 1955, who would make their debut at the Proms.
Ann interviewed conductor Ben Crick and trumpet player, Anthony Thompson, who had performed for Pope Benedict XVI but took a builder’s job during Coronavirus.
Their stories were launched at our media call at Harewood House, with a performance by the YSO.
The results were phenomenal with 138 pieces of press coverage, including a full-page feature in the Guardian, with print stories in the Times, Telegraph, the Independent, and others. Coveragebook put the readership at a staggering 1.72 billion, with 3.35 million estimated coverage views. Ben and Anthony appeared on BBCR4 Broadcasting House.
After writing to Alan Bennett, we fell off our chairs after getting a phone-call from Alan agreeing to be Patron of the new YSO, with a quote of support. Cause UK has been appointed special advisors to the YSO.
June saw summer finally arrive.
Passionate about nature and conservation, we began raising the profile of Nosterfield Nature Reserve; Ann went on to write a special feature on their work for a COP26 special supplement for the Yorkshire Post, and featured its youngest volunteer, Joe, in BBC Wildlife Magazine.
For those seeking a summer escape in a good book, we announced the winners of the world-famous Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards in July, with press coverage as far afield as Korea, Spain, Australia and Greece.
Book news continued into August as we helped announce the line-up for a hybrid 17-day Ilkley Literature Festival in October, featuring Ed Balls, Bernadine Evaristo, Jackie Kay and Gyles Brandreth.
As part of our work for the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership, we were incredibly proud to tell a remarkable story in an exclusive full-page feature in the Guardian. It told how researchers were working to reclaim the forgotten novelist and activist, Ethel Carnie Holdsworth. This trailblazing woman outsold HG Wells in her day, as well as having a novel adapted into a silent movie in 1920, and is believed to be the first working-class woman in Britain to publish a novel.
Blowing the Trumpet
On the run up to the Harewood Picnic Proms, conductor Ben Crick wrote a new composition, Yorkshire for All for Yorkshire Day on August 1. Cause UK placed the story across Yorkshire-media, with a bespoke film showcasing the county by Gary Lawson. The photo-story ran in the Sunday Times.
As well as doing PR, including getting headline acts Alfie Boe and Sir Willard White on BBC radio and featured in the Yorkshire Post’s Big Interview slot, Clair and Ann volunteered over the three-day Picnic Proms. As artist liaison, Clair met Freddie Fox who sang a Bowie-medley with Alfie Boe. The meeting has led on to one of Cause UK’s most creative projects to date – watch this space!
September saw Cause UK win one of the top awards in our sector, PR Agency of the Year, at the Prolific North Champions Awards hosted in Manchester. The awards featured big brands like Channel 4 and Immediate. It was a fantastic validation of our work and the passion we put into it.
Alexandra Balazs, Head of Operations at Prolific North, said: “This entry blew the judges away. The judges fed back that Cause UK, which supports the arts, ethical businesses, and social enterprises, doesn’t do things by halves and has done fabulously. They do commendable work and have stood up for what matters.”
On the drive to Manchester, Clair popped into our friends at Pendle to get the story on their creation – a local culinary delicacy, the Pendle Peat Pie, with a bite-sized environmental message. She took the story to BBC Morning Live, and Gethin Jones tasted it live from COP26.
Stars and Stages
On the run up to October, Ann interviewed a handful of authors appearing at the magnificent Ilkley Literature Festival for features appearing in the Telegraph & Argus, Ilkley Gazette and Northern Soul. We achieved meaningful coverage across local and regional media, including a number of Big Interviews in Saturday’s Yorkshire Post, and BBC Radio Leeds.
Cause UK saw the return of our own live events after a hiatus over Covid. Following on our strong 2019/20 line-up of stars associated with a good cause – Chris Packham, Steve Backshall, Ken Loach and Brian Blessed – we were thrilled to feature Miriam Margolyes and Springwatch Stars in October.
An old friend of Cause UK, Miriam was in conversation with the former BBC presenter, Anna Wallace, at the Royal Hall discussing her memoir, This Much is True. Covering her life, loves and values, it was an emotional hour that culminated in a standing ovation.
We also hosted Martin Hughes-Games and Iolo Williams at the Royal Hall who gave a behind the scenes glimpse of life on BBC’s Springwatch. The Cause UK event was part of Harrogate’s first Climate Action Festival fringe.
We began media support for Leeds Hospitals Charity telling the story of fundraiser, Jacqui Drake. Jacqui has terminal skin cancer. We placed a first-person piece in The Metro, featured Jacqui on the Independent Happy List 2021 as one of the top 50 inspirational people, positioned her on BBC Look North and BBC Radio, and secured a feature in the Yorkshire Post, as well as stories in the Telegraph and Argus and Yorkshire Evening Post.
Our work for Leeds Hospitals Charity continued with the inspirational Ian Flatt, who was diagnosed with MND and taking on a 100-mile fundraising challenge, despite needing a respirator 16 hours a day. We told his story on Sky News, BBC Look North, ITV Calendar, Leeds Community TV and in the Yorkshire Post.
Clair set up a media partnership with the Yorkshire Evening Post for the new £5m Rob Burrow MND Centre in Leeds. The paper ran a story a day for a week on MND and will support the appeal over six months. Ann interviewed retired nurse Jude de Vos, who lost her son Jody to MND. Her powerful, moving and honest story of grief ran in the Yorkshire Post and YEP, and we placed her on BBC Radio Leeds and ITV Calendar. Watch a short clip here.
“It really was so special to work with you to be able to share Jody’s story: A mother’s story, and hopefully raise as much awareness as possible.” – Jude du Vos
And so, another year of powerful story-telling…
No matter what sector you work in, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of a kinder, more equal, and greener society.
If you’re looking for (award-winning) PR, get in touch. We look forwards to working with you in 2022!
Ann & Clair.