Hackney’s Errol Kennedy and Bev Sage coordinate 10-day drumathon for NHS

Drumathon 2020 organisers Errol Kennedy and Bev Sage. Picture: Dr Jake Fairnie

Drumathon 2020 organisers Errol Kennedy and Bev Sage. Picture: Dr Jake Fairnie - Credit: Archant

Well-known Hackney musicians organised a 252-hour drumathon to raise money for the NHS.

Drumathon 2020 with Errol Kennedy, Paul Martin and Bev Sage. Picture: Phin Hall

Drumathon 2020 with Errol Kennedy, Paul Martin and Bev Sage. Picture: Phin Hall - Credit: Archant

As the UK went into lockdown, Imagination’s co-founder Errol Kennedy was inspired by the Thursday 8pm clap to do a 24-hour sponsored drumming session from his Hackney home-studio.

Overcoming minor hiccups such as cramp - with the potassium in emergency banana cake - Errol raised about £7,000 and wanted to do more.

With the help of his wife Bev Sage, Errol got about 20 drummers together for another event to beat out a rhythm for more than ten days straight.

READ MORE: Hackney nature reserve launches fundraising appeal to reopenEach drummer in the line-up, which included Mr World 2019 Jack Heslewood and The Feelings’ Paul Stewart, took on a 12-hour stint either starting or ending at 9am.

A lot in the drumathon auction - a drum frame made out of signed drumsticks from participants. Pictu

A lot in the drumathon auction - a drum frame made out of signed drumsticks from participants. Picture: Meelis Malgand - Credit: Archant

The performances were made up of 90-minute repeating cycles to mirror NHS workers’ 12-hour shifts.


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It was held in May during the height of lockdown and live streamed from many of the drummers’ homes on YouTube.

Bev laughed: “Whenever we swapped the link over (between drummers in the relay) there was a scary moment of thinking: ‘Is this going to work?’”

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The couple then held an auction with Paul Martin of Flog It! on July 18 at Dawsons Auctions to raise more funds.

Lots included a Zoom drum lesson with Tim Reynolds and a cymbal signed by Vince Dunn, and Errol and Bev also set up performances to entertain the audience throughout the auction.

In total, the events raised about £45,000 for NHS Charities Together.

Errol, who was supported by the NHS through a prostate cancer scare, said: “I’m really proud, it’s about feeling that we have made a contribution in our own small way.

“After what was done for us, we can do something too.”

He said the UK is “blessed” to have the NHS, made up of workers “giving up their time and their lives for us”.

Bev, who was treated for breast cancer by the NHS, added: “We brought this family of drummers together, all ages, sexes, races, a whole mixture of people.”

The couple are thinking about holding the Drumathon event again next year.

Bev and Errol are still welcoming donations and selling charity Drumathon 2020 T-shirts at https://www.imaginationband.co.uk/Donate at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/DrumForNHS

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