James Raybone

Lawyer turns DJ to raise funds for disabled children

A 38-year-old lawyer, from New Invention, near Wolverhampton, has raised nearly £700 for one of the UK’s leading children’s charities by hosting an evening of ‘Trance Anthems’ live from his living room.

By day James Raybone, aka DJ Matt James, works at his recently opened law firm, Alvechurch Legal Services, but every Saturday night, until the coronavirus pandemic struck, he would take to the decks at Booton’s Bar & Grill, Brierly Hill, near Dudley, as resident DJ.

But since lockdown began James, has been unable to fulfil his DJ commitments and has become increasingly frustrated at his inability to fill the dancefloor with a stomping set of top tunes.

So to satisfy his thirst for ‘Trance’ James, a former pupil at Pool Hayes Community School, in Willenhall, decided to recreate the house party vibe in his own living room every Saturday night. “I started to DJ when I was at Bangor University in 2001,” he explained. “When I came back to Wolverhampton to study law, in 2004, I began doing nights at the university’s student’s union.

“Although I gave it up in 2012, it’s something that I love to do and I took it up again in 2018, when I got the gig at Booton’s.

“I really miss not being behind the decks on Saturday evenings so I thought I’d create a Facebook live show from my living room, to keep my hand in and entertain a few friends.”

James put together a two-hour set of popular trance anthems, from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, and he immediately started to receive messages of support.

After several weeks, and with a growing following, James asked viewers to nominate a charity that they could raise money for. “I couldn’t believe it when and old school friend of mine, Bekki Rix, direct messaged me,” exclaimed James. “Her son Bowie, has Bohring-opitz syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that has left him unable to walk or communicate.

“She said that the family had been helped by Caudwell Children, a national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, and she wanted to nominate them, which I was more than happy to agree with.”

Bekki nearly missed the chance to nominate the charity. “I met James in Sixth Form when Sneyd Community School and Poole Hayes were merged,” she said. “I’ve not spoken to him in years but we follow each other on Facebook, and I just happened to pick up a live stream of him doing his DJ set a few weeks ago.

“When he suggested doing a set for charity I immediately got in touch as Caudwell Children has given us so much support over the years, including a once-in-a-lifetime holiday to Disneyworld, in Florida.

“Given that we’ve only had the odd Facebook interaction I was delighted when he agreed to support the charity.”

The live set had a reach of 25,000, with 5,000 views, prompting 230 comments and 126 shares from philanthropic followers.

Chris Booton, owner of Booton’s Bar & Grill, also pledged to double the amount of money raised if James hit his £200 fundraising target. “It was a fantastic gesture in what are difficult times,” continued James. “To smash the target is brilliant and I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be playing another charity set on behalf of Caudwell Children, on the Bank Holiday on Monday 31 August, 2020.

“I’ll maybe mix up the trance with a bit of garage, a little less niche, and a bit funkier to get a few more people involved.

“The set will run from 9.00pm and will continue for two or three hours. But don’t worry I won’t be annoying the neighbours as the music goes through a mixer onto my Facebook page, so they’ll be no banging on the walls for me to turn down!” 

Bekki is urging others to tune in and donate. As she concluded: “I’m an indie girl really and I’m into the Charlatans and the Stone Roses more than Trance.

“But I’ll be joining in again as It’s a hard time for charities at the moment as they aren’t getting out there to do their high profile community events.

“The more you can give now the better as it’s needed more now than ever, and families with disabled children need all the support they can get, especially if they’ve been hit financially.”

All money raised will go to Caudwell Children’s Emergency Appeal.

You can donate to Caudwell Children here.

You can follow James Raybone, aka DJ Matt James, through his Facebook page here.