This alternative Christmas advert made by North East lads will melt your heart - and the soundtrack was recorded in South Shields

A heartwarming alternative Christmas advert has been released – and it hopes to raise thousands of pounds for two worthy causes.
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The advert by musical duo and North East business partners Ben Potts and Andy Green is raising money for Make a Wish and Age UK.

It tells the story of Santa Claus who is visiting sick children in hospital over the festive period to deliver presents.

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But it is actually lonely Mr Claus himself that is in need of a little festive cheer.

The alternative Christmas advertThe alternative Christmas advert
The alternative Christmas advert

Ben and Andy, of Sunderland and Newcastle, have recorded different songs over the last few years and combined them with videos – in a bid to rival the annual John Lewis advert.

But this year they decided to take it one step further by writing their own storyline and filming their own advert.

The advert, part of which is filmed at Hartlepool Hospital, is accompanied by a cover version of Nothing Ever Happens by Del Amitri – sung by Ben, 36.

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This year they brought in a live orchestra and choir, Tyneside Voices, to join Andrew, who is playing the piano, when they recorded the sound track at The Garage Studios, in South Shields.

Ben PottsBen Potts
Ben Potts

The pair, who set up Green Key Installations together, had originally planned to release their advert on November 15, but when John Lewis dropped it’s Excitable Edgar film the day before they brought it forward.

And in 24 hours the video had already had 15,000 views on YouTube and almost £600 has been raised for their chosen charities.

Ben, 36, who lives in Castletown, said: “The choir and the orchestra are just unbelievable, everyone that I’ve shown the video too before it was released has just sobbed – it’s a real tear-jerker.

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“We’ve had so much support and we really hope we can raise funds for two such worthy causes.

Andy GreenAndy Green
Andy Green

“The alternative advert looks at children who are in hospital at Christmas as well as loneliness – we’re hoping to raise £20,000 for the two charities over the next year.”

Santa Claus is played by actor Seamus O'Neill, who is best known for his role in Shane Meadows' 2004 film 'Dead Man Shoes'.

Most of the children in the advert are from the North East after Ben and Andy but an appeal out on social media ahead of filming back in February and the nurses are actual nurses too.

“Like it says at the end of the video if you can’t give money, give yourself – that’s what Christmas is all about,” added Ben.

To donate to the cause click here.