Media Coverage of James, Jordan and the Charity
The story made front page news in the local Stockport Messenger on the 14th July 1994, when James's Uncle Peter's 6th Form College, Marple Ridge issued a press release regarding Peter's world record attempt to windsurf across the English Channel. Peter, an accomplished windsurfer, would be making the attempt to raise funds for the charity.
This alerted the Manchester Evening News to James's plight and when it was mentioned there was a mystery Hungarian adult still alive, they ran the story based around this. After this the national newspapers, national and local radio, local 'Granada Tonight' T.V. and national magazines ran James's story. Then James, with his Mum and Dad, almost appeared on Breakfast T.V., a transatlantic link was arranged with the American TPI family, but it fell through at the last minute. We had quickly realised the enormous potential the media gave to the fund-raising, so we were very disappointed when the Breakfast T.V. interview fell through.
A few weeks after this Jordan Stokes was diagnosed with TPI and again the local media in Manchester, and this time in Chesterfield also (Jordan's home town) gave the story good coverage. Devastatingly, Jordan Stokes passed away on January 17th 1997 aged 2 years and 10 months.
Since then we have faxed the local and national media frequently with updates to the story in general and all the news regarding the research and fund-raising. More T.V. and Radio interviews followed.
At about this time a friend, who was a professional cameraman offerred to help by filming all the various fund-raising activities going on for James. He acquired hours and hours of film, ranging from indoor activities such as Darts, Bowls, swim marathons, Sportsmans Dinners to outdoor events such as Soccer games, runs, walks, Golf, bike rides, the list is endless. What would, perhaps, have been the most spectaculer event to film, the cross channel windsurf was eventually aborted due to lack of wind at Dover Harbour. We had a team of 6 and a fairly large boat in Dover for 2 days, which was the only time window left, it was now mid-October, but unfortuntely without wind you can not windsurf.
In April 1995 James and his family went to London yet again to see Professor Bellingham and Dr Mark Layton and their team. By this time the 2 families had raised £120,000 and this was to be the official launch of the project, the launch was filmed by London Tonight and shown on the North West Granada Tonight programme.
One becomes very familiar with how the media work very quickly, you realise that although they sympathise with your plight, they have a job to do. This meant we had to come up with new angles to the story or even more unique fund-raising events. Without the interest shown by the media we would not have had a hope of raising the £230,000 needed. To date we have raised about £310,000.
Special Thanks to:
- Bernard Spilsbury, Paul McVeigh, John Prince and Denise Watson at the Manchester Evening News.
- Andrew Frazer at the Stockport Messenger.
- Debbie Haille at the Manchester Metro News.
- Phil Howarth at the Stockport Messenger (Phil also did a parachute jump for the charity).
- Helen Goldsmith at the Knutsford Guardian.
- Mark Owen and So Rahman at Granada Tonight.
- David Hirst at Sky News.
- Womans Weekly and Best Magazine.
- Rachel Murphy at the Daily Mirror.
- Andrew Loudon at the Daily Mail.
- Susie Mathis at Piccadilly Gold Radio Station in Manchester.
- Eamon Oneal and Jimmy Wagg at GMR Radio Station in Manchester.