North East DJs in 56-hour marathon show

TWO North East radio presenters are in a spin after smashing a world record to stage the longest-ever show on air.

DJs Sarah Stewart and Jamie Thirlwell, from Koast Radio
DJs Sarah Stewart and Jamie Thirlwell, from Koast Radio

TWO North East radio presenters are in a spin after smashing a world record to stage the longest-ever show on air.

Sarah Stewart and Jamie Thirlwell didn’t stop chatting and playing music for 56 hours to get their names in the famous Guinness Book of Records.

And they beat Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles and his on-air partner Dave Vitty who staged a 52-hour broadcast for Comic Relief which was the longest radio DJ team show.

Now Koast Radio presenters are waiting to have their title verified after a string of famous people contacted the show to keep their spirits high.

The record-breaking feat raised around £2,000 for North East charity Saras Hope Foundation, which runs a holiday retreat in Crete for young people with cancer and their families.

Volunteer DJ Sarah only joined the station a few weeks ago and her longest broadcast before the record attempt was four hours.

“We completed 56 hours which was fantastic,” said Sarah, 28, of Broomhill, Northumberland.

“It was an amazing experience but there were some pretty tough times. The hours of 4am, 5am and 6am were very bleak.

“There were a couple of moments when I really did doubt I would be able to continue. But the support coming in from listeners across the North East and beyond was just overwhelming, and their messages really did help me through it.”

Sarah’s daytime job is a centre manager with United Business Centres in Cramlington.

“I’m friends with the people who set up Saras Hope Foundation, who are based in the same building where I work, and I have been involved in other fundraising things for them so I was really keen to do the marathon show,” she said.

“Model Calum Best, who ran the Great North Run for the charity, rang our show, Lee Thompson, the saxophonist for Madness, sent us a Facebook message, pop band Ultrabeat called us when they were listening to us on their way to a gig, and ex-Newcastle footballer Nobby Solano rang in and made a donation.

“We are delighted with our record-breaking show and the money raised will get two families across to Crete.”

Jamie, 35, of Ashington, completed a trial run of 44 hours before attempting the world record for real. He has travelled around the world as a DJ and his longest on-air session was 32 hours.

Koast Radio, which has its studio in Longhirst Hall, Morpeth, set up as a community radio station in May.

The idea for the record attempt was suggested by station manager Vicky Oakley to make the most of a trial FM licence, as well as raise funds for a good cause.

She said: “We are just collating everything we need to send to the Guinness Book of Records. We had to abide by all the rules and we did it.”

Saras Hope Foundation was inspired by the late Sara Hoburn, who was nicknamed their ‘smiling star’ by staff at the Teenage Cancer Unit in Newcastle’s RVI for her upbeat attitude and caring nature towards others.

She spent a lot of time with youngsters in the ward and wrote a book, My Journey Through Cancer, to help children and teenagers through their illness and give them hope.

When she died in January 2001 at the age of 16, her family set up the foundation to provide a Greek respite villa in her memory.

The marathon radio show took place last week with the presenters able to have five-minute breaks every hour, while two CCTV cameras recorded the whole attempt. The rules stated there had to be two other people in the studio throughout the show.

Rob Davies and Gary Barnes, who are both regular DJs on NE1 FM, announced last month that they were going for a similar Guinness World Record feat to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Children’s Heart Unit Fund – on September 27. They had planned on a 55-hour stint on air but will have to go for longer if they want to gain the title.

A spokesman for Guinness World Records said: “I can confirm that Koast Radio have been in contact with us about attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest marathon presenting a music radio show. The current record by a team of two is 52 hours, achieved by Chris Moyles and David Vitty in March of this year. We understand through media reports that Koast Radio may have been successful in breaking the record.”

Listeners can tune in to Koast Radio at 87.7FM or listen online at


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