Last weekend Derry YouTube star Adam Beales gave out over £20k worth of gifts to people he believed needed help.
But three young people really stood out to him because they aspire to having YouTube success just like the 20-year-old who is better known as Adam B online.
Adam had asked for nominations for children and young people who needed a lift, and distributed tech gifts, and even a car, to many deserving families, including those who want to follow in his footsteps.
For 12-year-old Shayne O’Carolan Adam’s visit came after being nominated for his hospital fundraising efforts, following on from spending the first four year of his life in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Birmingham.
But it wasn’t just his inspirational story that captured Adam’s heart, the fact the youngster had his own YouTube channel made Adam want to help him even more.
Mum Shauna explained how much Adam’s visit and gifts meant to him.
“Shayne’s whole life is based around YouTube,’ she said. “He has his own YouTube channel and spends hours every day making videos.”
Shayne’s video making will be a lot easier now thanks to the camera and Macbook for editing that were presented to him by Adam, during a visit to his house.
“I wasn’t expecting any presents,’ Shauna explained. “The visit was phenomenal enough. We couldn’t get Shayne to go to bed that night because he said that he didn’t want the day to end. Since then he has been talking about Adam nonstop. We can’t believe the effect that Adam has had on him.”
Adam’s gift-giving initiative is the latest that the YouTube star has undertaken, having previously donated more than £1k to those in need. This time it saw him delivering the gifts in a special ice cream van.
“I set up an email account asking people to send emails in, nominating people who they thought deserved a gift,” he explained. “I received thousands!
“My whole family and myself sat reading through all the emails over a series of nights. Some people got lots of nominations who, most obviously, deserved a gift. Others I chose because they stuck out to me personally.”
One of those that struck a chord was that of nine-year-old Lucas Noah Broderick. When he started uploading videos to his YouTube channel, negative messages upset and hurt him.
But now Lucas Noah is having the last laugh.
Adam turned up at Lucas Noah’s house and gave the young man words of encouragement – telling him to go on uploading videos and ignore the trolls’ messages.
To help him on his way, Adam presented Lucas Noah with a brand new camera, a drone and a tripod to make better videos.
“I wasn’t expecting the gifts”, said mum Caroline. “Adam’s visit was more than enough, but this just made Lucas Noah’s day. I’m so glad that I responded to Adam’s Facebook post. He doesn’t know the impact he has had on our wee boy’s life.
Lucas Noah was inspired by Adam to create his own YouTube channel in February this year, he has about 1.5k followers and the videos are mainly of him and his dad having fun – although usually his dad getting the brunt end of anything.
“Lucas Noah wants to make videos because of Adam. When I applied, I told Adam that Lucas Noah was getting very negative messages in response to his videos. People were posting messages such as ‘go and kill yourself’ and then they would follow up with other negative messages.
“Adam’s team asked if Lucas Noah needed any presents. I said no.
“When he saw AB he was in total shock but couldn’t stop smiling.
“Lucas Noah was absolutely over the moon. Adan had a few quiet words with Lucas Noah about his videos. Told him not to let anyone stop him from making them. Then he gave him a brand new camera, a drone and a tripod to make better videos. I wasn’t expecting this. The visit by Adam was more than enough, but this just made Lucas Noah’s day.”
For Adam, inspiration to give the gifts came from another YouTube star, David Dobrik.
“I’m a massive fan and anyone who watches David would know that he likes to surprise people,” he explained “And I think during this climate, with bad news after bad news, people locally need someone like David. So, I too am going to do my best to try to make people smile.”
As well as having 2.7m YouTube subscribers Adam has more than 500,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok with his witty pranks and sketches, but he is committed to continuing charity work and supporting others. In addition to his cash and gift giveaways he recently bought his parents a four-bedroom dream home.
However, choosing those that were to receive the gifts for this video has involved his entire family, from picking the successful nominees through to joining Adam on the ice cream van.
“It’s amazing to be in the position where I can make people smile, take their mind off things, or potentially make a difference in their lives,” he said. “The stories really touched me. The same stories that also touched my mum whilst we were reading through the emails. It is the most I’ve ever seen my mum cry in one week.”
Among other recipients was 14-year-old superfan Lucie McElwee who received a Macbook, iPad and iPhone. The 14-year-old also had a box of chocolates as a bonus.
Lucie’s mum Sue McElwee said: “I saw the post on Facebook and sent an email. Lucie is such a superfan and knows Adam B very well. She has been a fan from the very start. I knew that if she didn’t get the surprise she would be crushed and so I kept it all very hush hush.
“On the day, Adam came quite late and so I had to find an excuse to keep her in the house.
“It was about half four or five before Adam arrived. Her dad said to her that someone was coming up the road and when she saw the ice cream van she had to take a double take. She had no shoes on and when the ice cream truck pulled up outside, she ran out panicking with no shoes on, screaming ‘I can’t believe it’.”
For Adam the real thank yous go to each and every fan like Lucie who has helped him get to where he is today.
He said: “I want to thank everyone who has supported me, watched the videos, shared, liked, commented and subscribed. You have given back to the local community. And for that, I just want to say thank you.”
His final message is one for everyone: “You don’t have to spend money to be kind. This video was a special one because I was able to give back,” he said. “But you don’t need to go to those lengths to be a nice person. Be the reason why someone smiles today. You won’t regret it.”
Check out Adam’s videos on his YouTube channel Adam B.
Father And Son Team Behind Massive Culture Night Installation
Monumental Ogham Grove interactive structure will dominate Writer’s Square
Father and son team Gawain Morrison and Dylan McCaughtry will bring an ancient Celtic language to life with a massive construction across Belfast’s Writer’s Square for this weekend’s Culture Night Belfast.
Having worked on music videos, short films and art projects they are now preparing for their most ambitious project to date, with fellow designer Neil Beattie.
Visitors to Writers’ Square will wander around massive tree-like structures, learn about the Druidic Ogham language, and interact via a QR code trail telling the story of this part of Celtic history that goes back to pre-Roman days.
Having worked together on projects since Dylan was 14, it was natural for both to take on the Ogham Grove installation and have a special touch for Gawain.
“It’s lovely because as we both get older, we have other lives going on,” he said.
“We’ve got things that take up our time and so the time you get to spend together and do things is very important. Getting him to do something like this is creating a memory.”
It helps that both are on the same page creatively.
“We get along and we’re quite similar in our mindset,” explained Dylan.
“It can be a bit challenging in that I’d be more in the construction side of things and he’s in creative management, so it’s marrying the two things. There were different things we were able to achieve in bringing this vision about.”
The Ogham Grove structure represents a different Culture Night experience, as the weekend has been re-structured due to Covid-19 restrictions.
For Gawain the idea of a city garden was an exciting prospect.
“The brief itself for this years’ Culture Night was very open in terms of where you could go with it, but something to do with the site’s specific structure,” he explained.
“People will be able to take it in and be part of.
“The fact that it was all themed around the city garden and the trees and some of the other things they’ve got coming down the line from planting a million trees and sustainability, all fitted with what we wanted to do and what we thought we could achieve.”
With such an ambitious project Gawain knew his son had the skills to help bring it to life.
“For the last ten years, Dylan has been working in film and TV and working on major shows like Game of Thrones and Derry Girls,” he said, adding: “He has worked across all manner of departments, from armoury, to set design, to costume, to tents and flags and everything in between.
“He has an incredible breadth of skills across the creation process using different materials and knows how to make temporary structures look and sound for people to be able to engage in, work around and be operating safely.”
With sustainability part of the brief every aspect of the construction is from reclaimed or upcycled materials that will be reused or repurposed afterwards, even the screws.
“A lot of the construction will be made out of pallets for the large alphabet section,” said Dylan.
“The reason behind that is because they are multi-use, they’re structurally sound and once we’re done with them, they can go back into the distribution system.
“The rest of the wood…the majority of it is reclaimed wood, stuff that has been used before and was just going to be thrown out, so we’re giving it that last little use of life before it goes on to its next use.”
There are no parental tensions as Gawain and Dylan have worked on ambitious tasks together before, such as the music video for the multi-instrumental hit artist BeardyMan.
“It’s totally fine working with Dylan,” said Gawain. “We don’t live together so he gets to close the door and walk away from me.”
Dylan is thankful to be working with his dad on Ogham Grove after the months of lockdown and restrictions.
“We got to spend more time together, which we haven’t been able to do in the last few years. It was great to hang out.”
And, as his dad says he also reminds him to take a break from the intensity of the project.
“He’s quite good at telling me to stop,” said Dylan.
“We don’t stop thinking about what we have to do but it’s nice that he can tell me to switch off.”
The working relationship goes back to when Dylan was still at school.
“I was about fourteen years of age and dad was producing short films,” he said.
“He would have brought me in to teach me stuff. I was an extra pair of hands. He was always encouraging and forcing me to get stuck in even when sometimes I didn’t want to.”
Gawain explained why they decided to use the Ogham alphabet as the touchstone for the mammoth installation.
“It was one of the first writing systems created by Druids to pass on knowledge,” he said. “It also harmonised with everything.
“It harmonises with trees, your environment, it makes sure that you’re living within your means, you’re living sustainably and it also then was the formation of the poetry, the music, the creative and the arts, all of this woven together is what made for a very healthy, fascinating lifestyle.”
Translating it into a 21st Century installation will involve lighting and music and for Dylan that fits into his recent work.
“My work in the film and TV industry such as recently on Netflix’s School of Good and Evil, means I’ve been able to pick up through set making, building, prop making, construction, using different materials and finding different uses for different materials for the outcome of Ogham Grove.
“Each element signifies a different tree and different types of wood with its own attributes be that through magic, or spirituality or even the aesthetical nature of them.
“These will all be laser etched, you’ll be able to scan the QR code of them, you’ll be able to be involved in this learning process of the Ogham alphabet.”
Prior to the pandemic, Culture Night had been one of Belfast’s largest free events, a cultural celebration that attracted almost 90,000 local, national and international visitors to the Cathedral Quarter and Belfast city centre.
The impact of COVID led Susan Picken, Director of Culture Night and Cathedral Quarter Trust to a major review of the event.
“We had the last big physical event back in 2019, with CN and Culture Day, which was really successful with huge crowds,” Susan explained.
“It got really big and almost overwhelming, but people loved it.
“Then obviously COVID happened and that really made us think a lot about the events and what we were going to be able to do and think about how the event had evolved over time and was it still doing what we wanted it to do for culture in the area.”
Having seen the concept from the initial proposal, through to Neil Beattie’s 3-D models she is confident that Gawain, Dylan and Neil will deliver something to live long in memories
“It’s a mammoth installation with light and sound,” she added.
“It’s going to be amazing, spectacular. Nothing like what people of Belfast have seen before or what people expect from Culture Night. It’s the one big idea that we’re really excited about.”
This year’s Culture Night Belfast is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Tourism NI, Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Translink.To keep up to date with all the CNB Presents The Ogham Grove updates go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB21 on social media.
Cathedral Quarter Trail To Lead Culture Night Visitors To The Ogham Grove
Over the coming weekend, Cathedral Quarter’s Writers’ Square will be the location for The Ogham Grove, a spectacular installation created by this year’s ambitious creative team for CNB21 Presents: The Ogham Grove.
The brains behind the concept include creative lead Gawain Morrison, artist and prop designer Dylan McCaughtry, designer Neil Beattie, lighting designer Tomás FitzGerald and drum loop producer Damian Mills.
Gawain Morrison said that the concept of The Ogham Grove “draws inspiration from the ancient Celtic Ogham Tree alphabet which dives deep into the era where nature and myths intertwined”.
This year, as well as experiencing The Ogham Grove itself, visitors will be able to take part in an accompanying interactive experience that will lead them through the Cathedral Quarter, and also take them on a journey of personal discovery.
According to Gawain the immersive nature inspired trail and competition will mean visitors can take something special away from the experience.
He explained: “For somebody who will be coming to this, the several points of access means it is going to be a very experiential and sensory experience. I hope that as visitors walk around whether it’s in the day or night, that they will take something away from it.”
Across the Cathedral Quarter area, there will be five zones each representing one of the five families of the Ogham alphabet. In order to be eligible to win a prize, participants must find and scan a QR code found on one of the trail’s bespoke wooden plaques and take note of the lines of poetry displayed.
Prizes to be won include vouchers for restaurants, gift tokens to purchase your own pieces of art and tickets to shows coming up in the Cathedral Quarter and will be announced at the end of the Culture Night weekend.
This year’s Ogham Grove installation will be replacing the previous city centre based programme of street based activity and pop-up events. And although the plans for this year are monumental in size, Culture Night Belfast and CQ Trust director Susan Picken says visitors should not expect the same on-street celebration as years gone by.
Prior to the pandemic, Culture Night had been one of Belfast’s largest free events, a cultural celebration that attracted almost 90,000 local, national and international visitors to the Cathedral Quarter and Belfast city centre. The impact of COVID has led to a major review of the event however.
Susan said: “Culture Night 2021 will be much smaller in scale and scope and will take the form of an on-site installation that people can drop into and enjoy over the course of the weekend – this different format will allow us to focus on safety as well as making sure everyone has a great time.”
The 2021 edition of Culture Night will have a completely new format and a new approach designed for a COVID-safe, post-pandemic environment. A major difference this year is the decision to move away from the previous approach to programming.
“One of the biggest changes this year will be that we haven’t run an open programme for submissions as in previous years” said Susan.
We won’t be asking for proposals for performances or events, instead we are working directly with our Creative Lead team to transform Writer’s Square with our exciting installation, The Ogham Grove, which will be running from Friday September 17 to Sunday September 19. This extended running time will allow more time and space to visit and experience over the weekend.”
This year’s Culture Night Belfast is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Tourism NI, Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Translink.
To keep up to date with all the CNB Presents The Ogham Grove updates go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB21 on social media.