Thursday 25 December 2014

Money raised Gangnam Style for Josh

Published 07/01/2013 | 15:45

Police officers dance 'Gangnam Style' as they make a video to help raise funds for 12-year-old Josh Wilson (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Josh Wilson was given a police helmet by Devon and Cornwall Police (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

Police officers have hit the street in "Gangnam Style" to help raise funds for a young boy left with disabilities by a brain tumour.

The tongue-in-cheek charity video features officers and PCSO's from Devon and Cornwall Police at various locations in Falmouth, Cornwall.

Sergeant Gary Watts persuaded colleagues to join him in a recreation of the music video by South Korean rapper PSY. They put their dancing skills to the test to film the parody which has been posted on the force's YouTube site.

Sgt Watts vowed to make the Gangnam Style video if he reached 5,000 followers on the social network website Twitter before the end of 2012, which he achieved with help from a #GangnamPoliceman hashtag. The officer is hoping to raise funds and awareness for 12-year-old Josh Wilson who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2004.

After his treatment Josh, from Bury, Lancashire, now has severe neuromuscular disabilities that require a fully adapted home. His family needs £25,000 to pay for a ceiling track hoist, a special bath, building work and other basic equipment.

The idea for the video came when prolific tweeter Sgt Watts got involved in a conversation about the Gangnam Style video and the number of hits on YouTube. The discussion prompted the idea of Sgt Watts replicating the dance, although he was not keen at first.

"In order to try and stop the calls for me to make a fool of myself in this way I said I would do the dance if I got another 1,000 followers before the end of the year. It had taken me two-and-a-half years to get 4,000 so I felt safe. How wrong I was," he said.

Sgt Watts's follower count quickly increased by more than 1,000 within a few days and he decided if he was going to do the video, he wanted to raise money for Josh. The teenager became known to Sgt Watts when someone on Josh's behalf requested a police helmet through his Twitter account, which has almost 30,000 followers.

Sgt Watts said: "This isn't something we would normally do. We don't give out any uniform for obvious reasons. However, I could see from pictures and tweets that Josh is mad about the emergency services and it would be a unique gift."

Josh's parents are £17,000 in to the £25,000 journey to equip the home to help make Josh's life better. Anyone wanting to donate to Joshua's Journey fund can do so at superjosh.co.uk. The video can be viewed at youtu.be/jhWrCGVMQf8.

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