COMEDIAN Chris Ramsey says he’s been “overwhelmed” by the response to a charity night he’s staging in memory of his young half-cousin.
The 27-year-old, who plays Jack Pearson in the BBC2 sitcom Hebburn, announced the star-studded gig on Thursday.
The event, on Sunday, January 12, will raise money for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, in memory of Chris’s cousin Jack Leggett, who died from a brain tumour last month, at the age of just nine.
Tickets for the show, at the Customs House, South Shields, sold out in a matter of hours, guaranteeing at least £8,000 for the charity.
Chris said: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the response.
“It sold out in about five hours, but I have a feeling it would have been more like five minutes if the website hadn’t crashed due to the sheer volume of people trying to get on it.
“It’s great that people are showing support for the event, and a sell-out means we are guaranteed over £8,000 already – and that’s before the collections on the night and before anyone even knows who our mystery guest is.
“It’s going to be a great night. It’s just such a pity it had to come out of such terrible circumstances. But the money raised will help other families who have to suffer this terrible ordeal.”
Chris, from Marsden, South Shields, began organising the night after attending the funeral of his half-cousin on New Year’s Eve.
Jack, of Primrose Avenue, South Shields, died from a brain tumour just three days before Christmas. He had been diagnosed just two months earlier.
Jack’s father and Chris’s cousin, Alfie Leggett, and his partner Susan Clarkson, were helped through their ordeal by CLIC Sargent.
The fundraising night will be hosted by Chris, and feature a line-up including Hebburn creator Jason Cook, Jarrow comic Carl Hutchinson, TV star Al Murray, alias the Pub Landlord, and Lindisfarne’s Billy Mitchell.
There will also be a surprise VIP guest, but Chris is keeping his – or her – identity under wraps for now.
He did, however, describe the person as a “world-touring multi-platinum-selling artist”.
Ray Spencer, the Customs House’s executive director, said: “Everyone here is unbelievably excited to raise money for such a brilliant cause, and it just shows the regard that Chris is held in, that he has been able to get such a fantastic line-up at such short notice.”