A DJ who worked with acting legend Sir Kenneth Branagh on the London Olympics opening ceremony is aiming to shatter the world record for non-stop broadcasting.
Along with a fellow volunteer presenter on Llandudno-based Tudno FM 107.8, Andrew Welsh is aiming to stay on the air for over 100 hours to raise cash for the community station which is run as a charity and relies on an army of well-wishers for its existence.
In their marathon of the airwaves, which will take place over five days in August, Andrew and his colleague Eilir Gwyn have set themselves an initial target of bettering the 80-hour record notched up by two presenters from the station a couple of years ago.
They’ll then battle on in a bid to smash the world record of 100 hours established by a pair of DJs in Belgium last year, hopefully by another 24 hours.
Along the way they’re only allowed a few five-minute “comfort” breaks and their efforts will be strictly observed and filmed to provide the necessary verification for the Guinness Book of Records.
Apart from presenting the weekly Wednesday night rock show on Tudno FM for the past few years, 27-year-old Andrew, from Old Colwyn, is also an accomplished actor, singer and presenter who writes and produces his own work.
He worked alongside acting knight Sir Kenneth Branagh and director Danny Boyle when he was part of the cast of Pandemonium, the industrial revolution section of the Isle of Wonder spectacular which opened the 2012 Olympics.
Andrew also took part in the two Paralympic Games ceremonies as an athlete marshal.
Just a few weeks ago he appeared in the role of Miss Trunchbull in a show to mark the centenary of children’s author Roald Dahl which toured schools across Denbighshire before having its grand finale on stage at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.
Now Andrew admits that his tilt at the world long distance broadcasting title will be one of his toughest performances to date.
He said: “Eilir and I are both volunteers on Tudno FM and wanted to do something to really raise the profile of the station and also make a little money for it in sponsorship cash as it relies completely on its supporters to keep going.
“We came up with the idea of breaking some non-stop broadcasting records which should achieve both these aims. But we know it’s not going to be easy.
“Between 10am on Monday August 15 and around 2pm on Saturday the 20th we’ll first attempt to break the 80-hour record set by two DJs from the station a couple of years ago and then keep going to smash the 100-hour record established by Peter Van de Veire and Eva Daeleman in Belgium on February 14 last year.
“If we’re still awake the plan is then to stay on air for another full day to make 124 hours of continuous broadcasting and put the new world record well out of reach.”
He added: “According to the rules, we’re limited in the amount of music we can play, so we’ll be inviting in plenty of guests drawn from local businesses and our list of supporters, which includes organisations like the Cartrefi Conwy housing association and Conwy County Borough Council, as a way of thanking them for all the help they’ve given us to stay on air since we started in 2008.
“Hopefully, some of the businesses will be bringing in food samples which will come in very handy to keep us going alongside all the gallons of coffee we’ll be drinking.
“There will also be local band coming in to play live and another guest will be Russ, the Conwy Jester who goes by the name of Erwyd le Fol.
“We’re only allowed to take breaks of five minutes every hour but we can save them up and have half an hour here and there for a few winks of sleep.
“Throughout the marathon we’ll be watched closely by a team of official timekeepers working in four-hour shifts and the whole thing will be filmed so that it can be checked out by the Guinness Book of Records.”
Recalling his high profile stint in the Olympics opening ceremony, Andrew said: “I was part of the cast for the industrial revolution scenes and worked closely with Sir Kenneth Branagh, who was the narrator, and Danny Boyle who directed the whole thing.
“We were all one big family and shared the same dressing rooms, so I often got to speak to both of them and they were really nice and approachable.
“After marshalling at the Paralympics the same summer I was invited to the after-show party and met all the Great Britain team.
“The whole experience was truly unforgettable and something to tell your grandchildren about.
“I’m sure our broadcasting marathon will also be memorable. It’ll be tough to keep going all that time but I’m really looking forward to it.
“If I’m having trouble staying awake I could always try to the old Alan Partridge trick of propping open my eyes using matchsticks!”
Eilir Gwyn, who is 19 and comes from Colwyn Bay, has been presenting the weekly Welsh language programme Y Shifft Hwyrnos – in English the Dusk Shift – on Tudno FM since last September and splits his time between the control desk and his day-job operating the children’s rides on Llandudno Pier.
He said: “If we manage to break the records for 80 hours and then 100 hours we’re hoping to go right on for 124 hours because we thought it would be good to add an extra day to the new record if we can set it.
“Neither Andrew or myself have ever done anything like this before but we’re going to give it 100 per cent.
“It will make the station better known and also raise some money to help it keep going, which is the main thing. But apart from that it will also be a good laugh.”
Details of the record attempt are available from the station at www.tudno.co.uk, tel: 01492 870249.