A new Guinness World Record has been set today, Friday July 11th for the longest game of Chinese Whispers involving 1,330 children and celebrities from the world of sport and entertainment.
Staged at Arsenal Football Club's Emirates Stadium, the record breaking children have already raised more than £100,000 for Save the Children and TreeHouse, the national charity for autism education.
The attempt which lasted for 2 hours and 4 minutes beat the existing record held by the Cycling Club of Chengdu, China, involving 1083 people in 2006. In the last 2 years, there have been seven unsuccessful attempts to smash the record.
With monitors from Guinness World RecordsT in attendance, the children formed a huge circular formation seated in Emirates Stadium's lower East Stand, and the Chinese Whisper started with the message 'Together we will make a world of difference' highlighting to the children that by working together they can help others lead happier, healthier lives.
The message was communicated in a variety of ways. Most of the children whispered the message but those unable to use speech as their main form of communication, used a language programme called Makaton. This is a language involving signs and symbols designed for those with a variety of communication and learning difficulties.
After the message had passed 200 children it had changed to 'We're breaking a record' and after 500 children it was recorded as 'Everyone is evil'. By the time the message reached the last child, it had changed dramatically and was read out as simply; 'Haaaaa'.
Joe Jaina, Senior Lecturer at Cranfield University in organisational behavior commented on why the message changed so dramatically: "It is very human to delete, construct, distort or generalise the original message based on the receiver's personality. Individuals often add their own meaning to information and this is often due to anxiety.The person receiving the whisper often becomes anxious and concentrates on the anticipation of receiving the whisper, rather than the whisper itself which results in the misinformation.
"Alternatively a different, perhaps more intuitive personality will tend to add pre-determined assumptions into the message, hence the popularity of celebrity gossip!"
Organised by BI, the UK's leading communication and motivation company, in partnership with Arsenal FC, TreeHouse and Save the Children, the event saw children aged 7-11 from the Milton Keynes area, join forces with children from north London who participate in Arsenal in the Community initiatives and children's groups associated with both charities.
Money raised through the event will be used to further TreeHouse's plans to open a National Centre for Autism Education in north London and will raise money for Save the Children's biggest-ever global campaign to stop 10 million children dying each year before their fifth birthday.
A dedicated website www.chinesewhisperworldrecord.com <http://www.chinesewhisperworldrecord.com/> has been launched by the partners to assist with fundraising and track the progress of the Guinness World RecordT attempt.
Also supporting the event were Nick Hornby, Ainsley Harriott, Dermot O'Leary and Austin Healy joined forces with Spandau Ballet singer Tony Hadley, impressionist Jon Culshaw, former England and Crystal Palace star John Salako, actress Michelle Collins and Holby City stars Amanda Mealing and Duncan Pow to cheer the children on and see them smash the record.
And Sir Steve Redgrave comments: "This is a fantastic achievement by all the children involved. It has been an honour to support these record breakers in their efforts to raise money for both TreeHouse and Save the Children. Both charities undertake vital work and The Chinese Whispers event has been all about helping children help each other."
Vicky Lincoln, Fundraising Manager at TreeHouse added: "We are so thrilled that we managed to break the world record today. But ultimately, getting children to think about issues affecting other children and raising awareness and funds on such a huge scale was what it was really all about. This event was a great opportunity for TreeHouse to raise awareness about autism and the positive effect that the right education can have on children with autism. And although they do find communication more difficult, it was fantastic seeing them enjoying themselves today and participating in the Chinese Whisper alongside their peers. Congratulations everyone!"
Tanya Steele, Director of Supporter Relations and Fundraising at Save the Children says: "We're absolutely ecstatic that we've made it into the Record books with this event and it's been fantastic to see so many children here today supporting our cause. It has been an amazing fundraising event and we're hugely grateful for this overwhelming show of support. Through this world record-breaking event, children from the UK will help save children's lives around the world and show that it's simple to save a life"
Richard Bandell, Managing Director, BI adds: "Setting a new Guinness World Record for these two amazing charities at Arsenal Football Club's Emirates Stadium was hugely exciting and great fun, but this event is all about enabling kids to help other kids and showing them that giving can be even more rewarding than receiving."
For further information please contact:
James Holmes/ Kate Moloughney at Limelight Public Relations
Tel: 0207 201 0600.
BI produces measurable business improvement by positively influencing the behaviour of people through communication and motivation. Its solutions help companies acquire retain and grow business with their customers by keeping employees and channels motivated and focused on delivering exceptional results. This is achieved through BI's core services: events and performance improvement programmes. These are supported by BI's dedicated in-house creative and technology solutions teams.
BI works with a wide range of blue-chip clients, including: Peugeot, Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBoS), Vodafone, Aston Martin, Roche, Shell, the AA, BMW and HP. Part of the $400 million, US-based firm Schoeneckers Inc, BI employs more than 1000 associates throughout Europe and North America. From its European base in Milton Keynes, BI's and results-driven approach has earned the company a reputation for delivering outstanding service to its clients.
Registered Charity No: 1063184
TreeHouse is the national charity for autism education. Our vision is to transform through education the lives of children with autism and the lives of their families. Established in 1997 by a group of parents, TreeHouse runs a school for children and young people with autism and campaigns for better autism education nationally. We undertake policy and parliamentary work and research to ensure autism is a national priority; support parents to campaign locally and offer training and consultancy on autism education. For further information about our work please visit www.treehouse.org.uk <http://www.treehouse.org.uk/>
About Save the Children
Registered Charity No: 213890
We're the world's independent children's charity. We're outraged that millions of children are still denied proper healthcare, food, education and protection. We're working flat out to get every child their rights and we're determined to make further, faster changes. How many? How fast? It's up to you. For further information about our work please visit www.savethechildren.org.uk <http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/>
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