This month our press team’s focus has been on two things - the sad death of Ivan Cameron and our annual fundraising event, National Doodle Day 2009.
You can view our statement here. Ivan’s death touched people across the nation and helped to raise awareness of both epilepsy and cerebral palsy.
We have been extremely busy during February. You may remember the amount of media coverage we achieved in 2007 when the 2012 Olympics logo caused seizures for some with photosensitive epilepsy. You will remember us commenting that it was one of the press office’s busiest days ever for media enquiries. The death of Ivan Cameron resulted in a similar amount of media enquiries and media coverage.
The phones rang constantly throughout the morning as journalists tried to find out more about Ohtahara syndrome, the rare form of epilepsy that Ivan had. The BBC came to Epilepsy Action’s head office to interview our chief executive, Philip Lee. Our deputy chief executive, Simon Wigglesworth, was already in London so he was able to get to a studio and take part in a Channel 5 News interview. It also meant he could appear the following morning for an interview on GMTV.
Monica Cooper, our epilepsy services manager, was also involved in interviews, along with several of our media volunteers (people with epilepsy who tell their story to journalists). Our advice and information services manager, Shelley Wagstaff, took part in a live web chat on Sky News Online.
We were contacted by The Press Association and national newspapers, including The Sun, The Mirror, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Guardian and The Metro.
As for radio, we had one national interview with Radio 5 live and eight regional radio interviews. These were with BBC London, BBC Radio Solent, two with BBC West Midlands (one with and Epilepsy Action representative and another with one of our media volunteers), Key 103 (Manchester), and the University of Kent radio station.
Later the same week, we were working on our sixth year of National Doodle Day. With around 400 celebrity doodles, we achieved television coverage on The Alan Titchmarsh Show, Channel M and BBC Breakfast News.
We achieved national press coverage with The Independent on Sunday, The Times and the Scottish Daily Mail, and masses of regional coverage. The Sun even had a doodle gallery online.
We did twelve regional radio interviews, seven were BBC stations. These included BBC Radio Somerset, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Lancashire, BBC Radio Derbyshire, BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Moray Firth FM, and Sunrise FM.
On National Doodle Day, our passion for social media did us a favour! We visited Twitter.com and discovered there was going to be a live web chat on Sky News Online on National Doodle Day. This allowed us to join in and promote the celebrity doodle auction, and the giant doodle gallery at Meadowhall Shopping Centre. Sky News Online also ran a ‘guess the doodle’ competition.
We would like to say thank you to all the celebrities, schools, individuals and groups who supported National Doodle Day. A big thank you to celebrities who offered to help with media interviews too. We placed some very interesting interviews and raised lots of money for Epilepsy Action and The Neurofibromatosis Association.