Round-the-clock gameathon raises thousands for Children in Need

Jack Careem's 24-hour gameathon has raised almost £4,000 for Children in Need

Jack Careem's 24-hour gameathon has raised almost £4,000 for Children in Need - Credit: Su Careem

A 24-hour gameathon, which saw 19 youngsters play, wager and game through the night, has raised almost £4,000 for Children in Need.

At the weekend, ahead of this Friday's live BBC Children in Need show, Meppershall's Jack Careem and 18 mates - with a handful tuning in virtually due to COVID - gathered at Meppershall Village Hall for a day-long gaming extravaganza to raise much-needed cash for the BBC charity, which funds over 2,500 projects that support children and young people across the UK.

"I'm tired, tired and more tired" the 14-year-old Samuel Whitbread student joked after his monumental challenge, which has, so far, raised almost £4,000 for Children in Need - a figure that is on the rise.

"The team effort was amazing. We ended up raising £1,100 in 24 hours alone. The fundraising was absolutely exceptional."

Jack's gameathons have been running annually since 2017, and returned this year after a fallow year due to the pandemic. The challenges have amassed almost £10,000 over the last five years - something that has seen Jack shortlisted for the Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year Award.

Jack was interviewed by the "amazing" Michael Ball on Radio 2 along with the other three finalists. The winner will be announced on Friday evening during the live BBC broadcast.

Jack Careem was interviewed by Michael Ball after he was nominated for the Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year award

Jack Careem, 14, was interviewed by Michael Ball on Radio 2 last week, as his annual gameathons saw him nominated for the 2021 Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year award - Credit: Su Careem

Speaking to the Comet, Jack said a highlight for him and the team included playing JackBox in the small hours, where he admitted the delirium really set in.

"4am, that was everyone's low point. We ended up going into the hallway, going for a little jog and jumping up to touch the ceiling before we went back.

"We had football and ping pong tables, so we definitely kept moving on those. But when it came to the board games, we'd have to keep each other awake - we put on thrash metal music on headphones, so when people got a little woozy, they'd suddenly wake up!"

As well as having visitors come and go to support the gameathon crew - including the Mayor of Shefford, who played a game of The Beatles: Rock Band with Jack - ex-PM Theresa May, Harry Potter's Miriam Margolyes and Olympian Dalton Grant sent their well wishes via video, thanks to Jack's granddad Nick.

The Mayor of Shefford, Cllr Ken Pollard, joined Jack Careem and his team of gamers for the 24-hour gameathon over the weekend

The Mayor of Shefford, Cllr Ken Pollard, joined Jack Careem and his team of gamers for the 24-hour gameathon over the weekend - Credit: Su Careem

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Beaming with pride, Jack's mum Su Careem said: "He's done an amazing job. The team - it's always so lovely to spend so much time with them, you feel like you know them. Now they're gone, I'm kind of missing them!

"They were exceptional again this year, really working hard to get the fundraising to try and beat that target.

"Throughout the gameathon, they were helping each other out when they were getting a bit weary - a good support for each other. And then there's me, going around every hour or so and putting my camera in their face!

Jack acknowledged the support of his peers, saying: "There's no way you could ever do that challenge alone. It's all about nudging your friends along.

"The general atmosphere keeps you awake and really kept us going. People were either jumping about and buzzing, or you'd see them struggling to keep their eyes open!

"Every year we set out to beat the previous year's total. We're not quite done yet, and there's still some money to collect.

"Next year, we're going to need some more people, but we'll definitely aim for that - and the more than join us, the merrier!"

He added: "Thank you to the team. None of this is possible without them, I could never have done this on my own. Even though it did look like we weren't going to hit our target, everyone was unbelievable over those 24 hours."

To donate to Jack's 24-hour Gameathon challenge in aid of Children in Need, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/24gt.