PUBLIC SECT0R: Connew plans Sparks' regional focus

Children's charity Sparks - Sport Aiding Medical Research For Kids - is to alter its PR strategy following the appointment of former national newspaper editor Paul Connew as head of comms.

Connew, who reports to Sparks CEO John Shanley, joins as a consultant through his own company SuperNova Projects.

The former editor of the Sunday Mirror, and deputy editor of the Daily Mirror and News of The World, hit the headlines over recent months following the break-up of his marriage with TV presenter Lowri Turner.

He said he wanted to increase the charity's regional coverage and focus more on the medical research it funds.

He said: 'Sparks is well known for its celebrity backing, and promotion of that will continue, but I want to see more at a regional level. Because of the celebrity backing it can look as though we have a metropolitan focus rather than provincial.'

'Also there needs to be more coverage of the medical research itself, to remind people what we are working towards,' he added.

One of Connew's first tasks was to promote this week's auction of Unique Experiences at Christies. Experiences being auctioned include a trip to see the filming of American Pop Idol and a chance to visit the England football squad at a training session.

The current Sparks president is the actor Dennis Waterman. Its vice-president is the rower Sir Steve Redgrave. The charitywas set upin 1991.

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