Bucks Fizz star, Shelley Preston, has teamed up with Newcastle College to record a series of charity videos to support victims of domestic abuse.
The 80's singing superstar, who is Patron of the Taking Steps Project - an organisation which supports men, women and children affected by this issue, made a special trip to the college's Performance Academy to work on the videos to raise money for the charity.
Shelley performed one of her the Bucks Fizz singles 'Love the one you're with' and the Cloudfish cover of the old standard 'Paris in Springtime', with help from Media, Sound Engineering, Stage Management and Technical Theatre students who had all volunteered their time to support the project.
She was also joined by two local Twitter celebrity Whippets, Kevin and Wayne, known for dressing up to raise money for charity. They were the inspiration for the idea to do the videos for the Taking Steps Project.
In the New Year, the videos will appear on YouTube and Shelley's Facebook and Twitter pages. Followers will be asked to donate just £1 and when the number of donations reaches certain milestone, more videos will be released. All of the proceeds will go direct to the Taking Steps Project. The students involved will be credited on the video and will take away the experience of working with a music industry professional with over 28 years’ experience.
Shelley became involved with the Taking Steps Project after a close friend experienced domestic abuse and sought help from the charity's founder and CEO Gerrie Jordan. The organisation supports victims and their families and helps them to regain the self-confidence to reclaim their lives through group workshops and counselling. It also offers help and counselling to the perpetrators. Shelley is also Patron of Alfie's Law Foundation, a charity which campaigns for justice for animal victims of cruelty and abuse and raises money to help animals in need.
Newcastle holds a particularly special place with the singer. Her very first gig with Bucks Fizz was at the Newcastle City Hall in 1985. Shelley is now back performing solo with a sold out gig already under her belt. She will be performing at The Bedford Live in Balham on 12 January 2014.
Commenting on the project, Shelley said: "domestic abuse is still a taboo subject in this country so highlighting the issue and the support available can be difficult. I have seen how this form of abuse affects families first hand so was keen to get involved. Since becoming Patron in September, I have been horrified at some of the stories I have heard. One in four women and one in six men experience domestic abuse and organisations such as Taking Steps Project provide a lifeline for families in South and South East England, though Taking Steps Project gets calls from other parts of the country as well.
She added: "I decided to make the music videos as it was a great way to raise awareness for the charity and to raise the vital funds needed to carry on its work. I heard that Newcastle College had fantastic facilities so contacted them to ask for their help in filming the videos. I was completely overwhelmed by the generous response and the enthusiasm of the staff and students and really can't thank them enough. We had a great day and I hope the students benefited from the experience of working on a live performance."
Steve Reay, Lecturer in Popular Music at Newcastle College, said: "When Shelley approached the College we were more than happy to help by donating our facilities and expertise. Working on the videos has given our students invaluable experience. Being able to talk to Shelley and draw on her knowledge of the industry is an amazing opportunity for them and to be credited on the video will be great for their CV. Shelley has also agreed to come back to the College in the New Year and we may even persuade her to perform again."
Jonathan Docherty, 21 from West Allotment who is studying a Foundation Degree in Sound Engineering, said: "It was great to work with a professional artist like Shelley and for such an important cause. I am really looking forward to seeing the campaign go live in the New Year and would like to thank Shelley for all of the advice and help she gave everyone on the day."
To help the campaign you can join in by following Shelley on twitter.com/ShelleyIsBack where all the information about the Taking Steps Project video donation weekend will be announced.