When a community came together to break a world record

If you weren’t at Churchill Athletic Pitch Sunday morning, you missed something spectacular. Over 300 people gathered together with hopes of setting a new Guiness World Record for the largest number of people taking part in the 1970s dance classic ‘Oops Upside Your Head’.

The idea came about as friends of terminally ill Whitley Bay mum diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, Julie Goulding, hit the dance floor during a fundraising event last year.

Good friend of Julie, Helen Davis decided to look into whether there was a current record. Discovered there was standing at 258 participants, and set her sights on beating it.

Completely undeterred by the weather forecast, Churchill began to fill with friends and family of Julie, and members of the general public. Parents hurried over from the adjoining park with their children keen to see what was about to go down. Some then wanting to get in on the action, and leaving their children with another adult to give their £5 donation, then joining the queue of excited participants waiting to make their way over to what’s known as in big event terms, the sterile area.

Crowds make their way to take part in Oops Upside Your Head Guiness World Record event at Churchill Playing Fields

Image by Pam Hordon Photograpy

As the lines of 50 began to form, DJ and Compare Steve Keys threw on the tunes and geared the crowds up. It was fantastic to see so many people who had never met before dancing in their lines. The line next to me even holding hands and swinging along to a Jess Glynne fave.

When all participants were in place, Choreographer and Whitley Bay Clubbercise instructor Melanie James provided a warm up. The next 10 minutes we busted our moves giving it large with ‘Big fish, Little Fish, Cardboard box’. Pumping up the jam, and then it was time for the main event.

Steve started the count down from 10. Then as the klaxon sounded, Melanie led us all as we sat on plastic bags, (the wet grass wasn’t going to stop us) singing, shouting and fist pumping our way into the 5 minutes of ‘Oops Upside Your Head’. Then the swaying, clapping and ‘whoop whoop’ing began.


Crowds at Guiness World Record Oops Upside Your Head event, Churchill, Whitley Bay

Image by Pam Hordon Photography

I can’t even describe the atmosphere at this point. The singing, the cheering, and the clapping from supporters stood nearby.

And in what felt like the shortest 5 minutes ever, Steve announced we’d done it. In fact we’d smashed it. All 333 Record Breakers. The crowds cheered, Helen jumped up in the air, and both Julie and Helen said a very emotional thank you.

Helen Davis at Guiness World Record Oops Upside Your Head Guiness World Record Event Churchill Whitley Bay

Image by Pam Hordon Photography


As we all got up off the floor, we were led from our lines then did a lap around the track. Not as in running of course, we’d just sat with our legs spread wide for just under ten minutes. But again dancing and clapping, led by the Bangshees.

Bangshees lead the lap round the track at Churchill after smashing the Guiness World Oops Upside Your Head record

Image Pam Hordon Photography

In addition to smashing the record, (which will be officially confirmed in the next few weeks) more than £2,300 was raised through those who took part in the event, and generous local businesses who donated confectionery, cakes and flowers and sponsorship support. All funds raised is to be split between helping hit the Justgiving £20,000 target set up by Julies friends to meet the cost of vital immunotherapy treatment which will help prolong Julies life. And Positively Pink Breast Cancer support charity helping hundreds of women across the borough

One other thing which I’m sure every single person who was there will have taken away from the event, was the sense of pride brought about by the astounding community spirit. I know I walked away feeling proud to have been part of something so big. Proud to be one of the record breakers, and proud to be from Whitley Bay. Sunday was a reminder of just what can be achieved when people come together

It was truly incredible to see the support for one amazing lady, who is obviously so very loved, and one awe-inspiring event to be part of.

Julie Goulding at Oops Upside Your Head Guiness World Record Event at Churchill Whitley Bay

Image Pam Hordon Photography

And here’s a snippet of the event, and the day 333, all the organisers and those involved, broke a World Record

If you’d like to help with funds, you can do so by donating at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/julie-goulding
Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could all make it a double and smash this target, too?

Images can be downloaded by clicking this link and entering the password Julie123.

50% of sales will be split between Julie Golding and Positively Pink

Thank you so much for giving me permission to blog about this event, honoured to have even wrote this.

1 Comment

  1. May 19, 2018 / 3:41 pm

    What a great day it was and thanks for such a brilliant reminder.

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