Challenge 81 donate

Challenge 81

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In celebration of what would have been John Peel’s 81st birthday, the Directors, employees, volunteers, and Friends of the John Peel Centre (JPC) have undertaken a range of exciting and unusual fundraising activities connected to John Peel, 81, and the work of the JPC.

John Peel Centre is part of a national initiative – Save Our Venues – launched by Music Venue Trust to prevent the closure of hundreds of independent music venues.  Funds raised on behalf of the JPC ‘Challenge 81’ will go to the John Peel Centre, with the aim of helping it survive through the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.  Like many arts and cultural organisations, for the safety of the wider community, the JPC has been forced to close its doors. Of course, we are itching to open again and continue to do what we do best: provide a platform for great live art for live audiences. However, like the rest of the country, saving lives is our primary concern, and we understand we can only open when it is safe to do so. However, the reality is that the JPC relies on its earned income, and right now, it is not in a position to earn the level of income needed to keep afloat long-term. To help it through this period of uncertainty and beyond, the team has come up with a great menu of fun and creative fundraising activities which we hope (if you can afford to do so) you might be willing to donate to.

Many of these activities took place on 30.08.2020, which is John’s actual birthday, but there were also a whole host of things happening around that date. Take a look at the menu below to see what we got up to and how you can still donate.

What better way to say “Happy Birthday John” than celebrate some of the things he is most fondly remembered for, at the same time as raising some essential funds for the creative community arts centre set up in his name.

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Challenges on 30.08.2020

8.00am – 4.10pm – The Cox’ Dance Challenge 81 – John Peel’s Festive 50 of 1981 (on repeat!)

JPC Strategic Manager, Jane Cox, and her family took on the mammoth task of dancing non-stop for 8 hours and 10 minutes. Between one and four members of the family of four, aged between 7 & 42 years old, were dancing at any one time. Even better, they danced to the soundtrack of John Peel’s Festive 50 for 1981… on repeat… Donate via


4.10pm – 6.00pm – Video clips from the staff and volunteers’ individual challenges!  Donate via

6.00pm – 6.45pm – Sheila Ravenscroft with John’s Record Collection Challenge 81

From 6pm, Sheila Ravenscroft (John’s wife) played tracks 8 & 1 from record numbers 8100, 8181, 0839 (all of these are associated with John’s date of birth) from John Peel’s carefully catalogued record collection of 26000 albums. This went out on YouTube…

Now you have watched, please donate via!

7.30pm – 9.00pm – JPC 81 Minutes of great music

The JPC collaborated with artists to produce 81 great minutes (plus another 45 minutes!) of music from their ‘lockdown’ state. Each artist donated a track of their music to the JPC fundraising cause, and we pieced together the patchwork of awesome artists and their melodies to make 81 Minutes of great music for you to enjoy, to access the many artists we’re pretty sure have never shared a bill like this before!!  Don’t forget to donate via!

Throughout the day:

Andy Patton

Andy Patton – Cycle Challenge 81

JPC volunteer Finance Director, Andy Patton, did an 81-mile bike ride (no mean feat!). His carefully planned cycle route started at the JPC in the morning and he made his way towards Great Finborough to pass John’s blue plaque on the community centre there before he headed up to Eye, Halesworth, Framingham, and back to finish at the JPC (please see map for full route). Donate via



Simon Buckmaster – Bicycle and Fact Challenge 81

JPC Director Simon, who many will know is responsible for the JPC Friends programme, conveniently lives 8.1 miles away from the JPC. Therefore, for his Challenge, he cycled to the JPC and back five times, making his total journey 81 miles. To top it off, each time he reached the JPC and home, he shared one of the obscure and unusual music facts he is so well known for! Donate via


Ursula Scott – Skipping Challenge 81

For her challenge on 30.08.2020, JPC Director for Volunteers, Ursula Scott (who some of you might recognise as the Manager of Stowmarket Library), took a trip back to her childhood and attempted 81 continuous jumps with an ankle skip rope – something she hasn’t done since leaving school. To ease the pain of this mammoth challenge she did the whole thing whilst listening to one of her favourite episodes of Home Truths. Donate via

Challenges in the lead up to 30.08.2020

Gareth Betts-Davies Challenge 81 photo
Gareth Betts-Davies

Gareth Betts-Davies – Eclectic Rhythm Walk Challenge 81

JPC HR Director, Gareth Betts-Davies, has taken inspiration from John’s wooden record box (a wooden box containing 142 singles was discovered among John’s belongings after his death) and the associated Channel 4 documentary for his challenge!

Gareth is walked, walked, walked, and walked some more. During his walk he listened to the A side/first track of first 81 records of John Peel’s wooden box of records (interesting and eclectic mix).  Gareth’s challenge did not end until he reached number 81. He made a video diary of his walk, which is on our Facebook page. Donate via

Patsy Cane – 81km Walk Through Scenic Suffolk

JPC General Manager, Patsy Cane, walked around Suffolk, totalling a mammoth 81km in just one week.  She shared her route with photos throughout the week celebrating the splendid Suffolk countryside, which was John’s adopted home, finishing at the JPC on the 30.08.2020. Donate via