Derry YouTube sensation Adam Beales has handed out more than £20k worth of gifts to children and their families following an online appeal for nominations of those deserving a treat in these difficult times.
Known as Adam B to his 2.7m YouTube followers, the 20-year-old fulfilled a lifetime dream of being an ice cream man, but instead of serving up sweet treats he was delivering life changing gifts, including a car to a family that lost a loved one in April.
From laptops through to phones, tablets, cameras, toys and drones Adam delivered the presents after choosing from a list he and his family looked through, all to be revealed when he releases the video at 6pm on Wednesday, June 24.
“I set up an email account asking people to send emails in, nominating people who they thought deserved a gift,” he explained. “I received thousands!
“My whole family and myself sat reading through all the emails over a series of nights. Some people got lots of nominations who, most obviously, deserved a gift. Others I chose because they stuck out to me personally.”
Of those chosen they range from people who have recently recovered from a serious illness, raised funds for charities, young people starting their own business, to those who have been bereaved.
One massive surprise was for Bronagh Burke. She lost her husband and father to three-year-old twins Thomas in April. Adam surprised the twins with a mountain of toys, and left Bronagh speechless when he handed her the keys to a brand-new car.
“To lose a father is the most heart wrenching thing to read about,” he said. “The incredible young twins tried to help Bronagh by running out to the street to call for an ambulance and remaining calm as Bronagh performed CPR.
“Adam and Aoife will be marking their fourth birthdays on June 28th and Bronagh wanted to make the day special even without their dad.
I was in the fortunate position to gift Adam and Aoife with lots of toys from our local Smyths Toy Superstore – and able to gift Bronagh a new car.”
Adam delivered the car, not knowing that the family car had to be returned just two weeks previously.
“I was so overwhelmed, completely blown away and then he arrived with the car,” said Bronagh. “It was just amazing.”
The choice of making the delivery via an ice cream van was something Adam had long cherished.
“I always wanted to be an ice cream man when I was younger,” he explained.
“I used to look at them in the street and think to myself, ‘Someday I want to be an ice cream man and eat all the ice cream in the world’.
“I may not be eating ice cream in this video, but I’ll be in the truck, going around locally, playing the classic ice cream tune and giving people MacBooks, iPhones and cash.”
Among the recipients is a remarkable young man, Shayne O’Carolan, who spent the first four years of his life in hospital.
The 12-year-old has a number of special needs, but that hasn’t stopped him from fundraising, including raising £2k to provide two parents’ beds in the children’s wards at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Shayne is a fan of Adam’s YouTube channel, and makes his own videos too. The family thought Adam was just visiting to give some support and meet Shayne.
“Shayne was speechless when he saw Adam,” explained mum Shauna. “He was so excited and then AB said to him, ‘I hear you’re a very big YouTuber. I’ve got you a camera, but you will need to edit your videos’. He then handed him a Macbook as well.”
Since then Shayne’s YouTube views have risen and his mother said the family can’t believe the positive effect his visit has had.
For Adam inspiration to do this video came from another YouTube star, David Dobrik.
“I’m a massive fan and anyone who watches David would know that he likes to surprise people,” he explained, adding: “And I think during this climate, with bad news after bad news, people locally need someone like David. So, I too am going to do my best to try to make people smile.”
For a number of years Adam has been garnering more and more YouTube subscribers, as well as more than 500,000 followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok with his witty pranks and sketches, but he is committed to continuing charity work and supporting others. Before this recent video has randomly handed out £1k to people who contacted him on Twitter and bought his parents a four-bedroom dream home.
However, choosing those that were to receive the gifts for this video has involved his entire family, from picking the successful nominees through to joining Adam on the ice cream van.
“It’s amazing to be in the position where I can make people smile, take their mind off things, or potentially make a difference in their lives,” he said. “The stories really touched me. The same stories that also touched my mum whilst we were reading through the emails. It is the most I’ve ever seen my mum cry in one week.”
Included in the recipients of Adam’s gifts is nine-year-old Lucas Noah, who had been receiving nasty online comments about his own YouTube channel. Adam delivered a new camera and drone to help him improve his videos.
And, 18-year-old singer Clionagh Stewart, whose laptop was no longer working. Adam popped up with a new Macbook to help her get back to recording songs.
With his ice cream deliveries he also gave one of his long-time fans, Lucie McElwee, a Macbook, iPad and iPhone. The 14-year-old also had a box of chocolates as a bonus.
In addition to the many gifts Adam has dropped off hampers to staff at Altnagelvin Hospital to thank what he describes as “our local superheroes”.
But the YouTube star wanted to thank those that have helped him be able to support others.
“I want to thank everyone who has supported me, watched the videos, shared, liked, commented, and subscribed. You have given back to the local community. And for that, I just want to say thank you.”
His final message is one for everyone: “You don’t have to spend money to be kind. This video was a special one because I was able to give back,” he said. “But you don’t need to go to those lengths to be a nice person. Be the reason why someone smiles today. You won’t regret it.”
Check out Adam’s videos on his YouTube channel Adam B.