Stop the Shadows news

Able2UK Stop the Shadows gig a huge success!

Photo of Luke Pritchard and Hugh Harris playing guitar on stage with the Hard Rock Cafe, Able2UK and Crosstown Concerts logos in white against a black background.

On Tuesday, 23rd January the second Stop the Shadows gig was hosted by the Hard Rock Cafe, London.

The event, a small, intimate gathering of ~200 people organised by Able2UK’s CEO & Founder Howard Thorpe, highlights the loneliness disabled people can experience such as being isolated from society, left out from group events organised by friends and the impact this can have on their wellbeing.

A short film featuring MARK WAHLBERG, SIMON PEGG, MOBY, HUGH BONNEVILLE and DAME JUDI DENCH backing the ABLE2UK STOP THE SHADOWS campaign - which will be showing at cinemas around the country in February - and videos of support from celebrities including Chris Packham explaining how their lives have been impacted by loneliness as a result of disabilities kicked the night off.

Photo of a stage with Neil Morrissey interviewing Josh Widdicombe and Mel Giedroyc. All three are holding a microphone, Mel is pointing at Josh and Neil is looking at both of them.Mel wears a red cardigan and trousers with ankle boots and has her hair in a ponytail. John has dark trousers on with a blue tshirt and a long sleeved dark shirt. Neil wears a tweed suit with waistcoat and a white unbuttoned shirt. Behind the stage are the Hard Rock Cafe, Able2UK and Crosstown concerts logos and the vertical strip lights are blue in colour. Behind Neil is a large music amplifer.Renowned comedian and actor, Neil Morrissey, took charge of the evening as the host.

The proceedings got underway with his engaging conversations between comedians Josh Widdicombe and Mel Giedroyc.

Slightly blurry photo of Neil Morrissey on the left holding a microphone, with  Anne Wafula-Strike and Steve Brown on the stage, both are sitting in a wheelchair and holding a microphone.  Anne is looking to her right at Steve who is speaking. Steve, a white man with short cut hair, is wearing a dark pair of trousers and a light shirt with a jumper over the top, and Anne, a black woman with her hair in braids tied into a pony tail, is wearing check patterned trousers with a white collared blouse and a long sleeved jumper with a beaded necklace. The lights behind are a bright blue colour.This was followed by the introduction of the esteemed paralympians, Anne Wafula-Strike and Steve Brown to the stage. These inspiring athletes relayed their personal journeys surrounding disability, their foray into paralympic sports, and imparted deeply felt insights about the isolation and loneliness experienced by them and countless others with disabilities.

Photo of Neil Morrissey, Joe Thomas and James Buckley on the stage holding microphones.  James, a white man wearing a horizontally striped open shirt and a dark tshirt with dark trousers is laughing, and Joe, wearing a round necked dark jumper and dark trousers is smiling and looking towards Neil Morrissey. In the background are the Able2UK and Crosstown Concerts logos in white against a black background, and blue coloured vertical lights are illuminating the stage.Next up Joe Thomas and James Buckley were reunited on the stage who recounted their experiences filming The Inbetweeners at various locations around the world.

They candidly recounted some of the antics they got up to on set, along with stories from their lives as actors working jobs including fitting kitchens.

Photo of Luke Pritchard and Hugh Harris playing guitar on stage with the Hard Rock Cafe, Able2UK and Crosstown Concerts logos in white against a black background.After a brief interval, Luke Pritchard - and a surprise guest of Hugh Harris - from The Kooks took to the stage and played several of their hits including ‘She moves in her own way’ and ‘Always where I need to be’.

Founder of Able2UK next gave a heartfelt speech explaining why he started Able2UK and how important the Stop the Shadows campaign is to him, having experienced extreme loneliness and isolation as a teenager living with Cerebral Palsy. He invited attendees to reach out to people who might be feeling lonely and implored everyone to consider how they can bring people with disabilities out of the shadows.

Finally, the evening reached an electrifying crescendo when Sophie Ellis-Bextor took to the stage with renditions of Murder on the Dancefloor - which has recently seen a resurgence after being featured in the film Saltburn - Take me home, and a medley of several of her dancefloor hits.

Fran Cutler hosted the after party at Mayfair casino attended by The Kooks, Neil Morrissey, Steve Brown & Anne Wafula-Strike, ending the night on a high note.

Press coverage:

Daily Mail:

Good Housekeeping: 

Check out the limited edition Stop the Shadows t-shirt - help Able2UK continue to serve the disabled community: 

Photos by Steve Mills and Ruth Cheesley, used with permission.

[ The Stop the Shadows T-shirt range is available now for purchase on the ICON|XXII website. ]

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