Londonderry YouTube star Adam Beales has handed out more than £20k worth of gifts to children and their families following an online appeal for nominations of those deserving a treat in these difficult times.
Know to his 2.7m YouTube followers as Adam B, the 20-year-old delivered presents including phones, tablets, cameras, toys and drones to winners selected with the help of his family.
“I set up an email account asking people to send emails in, nominating people who they thought deserved a gift,” he explained.
“I received thousands. My whole family and myself sat reading through all the emails over a series of nights. Some people got lots of nominations who, most obviously, deserved a gift. Others I chose because they stuck out to me personally.”
Winners ranged from people who have recently recovered from a serious illness, raised funds for charities and young people starting their own business, to those who have been bereaved.
Among the recipients was Shayne O’Carolan, who spent the first four years of his life in hospital.
The 12-year-old has a number of special needs but that hasn’t stopped him from fundraising, including raising £2k to provide two parents’ beds in the children's wards at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Shayne is a fan of Adam’s YouTube channel and makes his own videos too. The family thought Adam was just visiting to give some support and meet Shayne.
“Shayne was speechless when he saw Adam,” explained mum Shauna. “He was so excited and then Adam said to him, ‘I hear you’re a very big YouTuber. I've got you a camera, but you will need to edit your videos’. He then handed him a Macbook as well.”
Since then, Shayne’s YouTube views have risen and his mother said they can’t believe the positive effect his visit has had.
In addition, Adam has dropped off hampers to staff at Altnagelvin Hospital to thank “our local superheroes”.
The YouTube star said his followers have enabled him to support others.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me, watched the videos, shared, liked, commented, and subscribed. You have given back to the local community. And for that, I just want to say thank you.”