MAYOR’S MOMENT: Beating the Beast from the East!

Curtain Up!
Curtain Up!

With storm Emma hitting the country early last week our town was quite lucky not to have been affected as severely as some areas.

I awoke on Tuesday to a beautiful clean white covering of snow and could not resist taking a careful and very wrapped up walk around Mewsbrook Park and along the seafront to take a few pictures, but having got as far as the river I decided to get back in and defrost with a hot chocolate.

Billy with Emma Neno-Tyler and some #Cancerwiserocks

Billy with Emma Neno-Tyler and some #Cancerwiserocks

On the following days the snow continued but singers and dancers are a hardy lot and were not put off going out and so I went to the rehearsals of some of the groups who were taking part in my show Curtain Up! at the end of the week.

I was overwhelmed with the quality of performance that the groups were putting together and knew that the show was going to be great.

On Friday morning the snow was still with us and I have to admit I was getting a little concerned, with only one day to go until my show was being staged and the dress rehearsal that night.

The snow was one problem, and luckily it was not too deep here, but it was by this stage that the thin ice underfoot caused some trepidation on going out walking and driving.

Snowy Littlehampton

Snowy Littlehampton

This said, a former mayor of Littlehampton, Emma Neno-Tyler, had agreed to meet me at Mewsbrook Park café for her to tell me more about a fun new idea the charity she supports has had – called Cancerwise-Rocks! – and neither of us was going to cancel our plans.

Emma explained to me about the idea which is very simple and a bit of fun too.

Around our town and the further area that Cancerwise supports, hand-painted rocks have been hidden all with different pictures and underneath each it says #Cancerwiserocks.

You simply take a picture of the one you have found and load it up on social media with the hashtag #Cancerwiserocks, then hide it somewhere else for someone else to find.

You can even get creative and create your own ones for people to find.

The idea is it to promote the charity and raise awareness of it and what it does. It also gives people the opportunity to make a donation on their just giving page on Facebook.

I think this is a great idea and will be hiding one myself shortly and look forward to seeing who the first to find it is.

That evening, it was time for the dress rehearsal and for once I was pleased to see the rain come as it washed away the worst of the snow and made it easier for people to attend.

The Windmill was buzzing with talent everywhere you looked.

With everyone polishing off their acts and all seeing each other’s performances, everything was coming together and I left that evening with a real buzz and yet still extremely nervous.

Finally it was Saturday and everything was set, the atmosphere backstage was electric and I was probably the most nervous of everyone but it was here, it was time for Curtain Up!

As anyone who has been on stage will tell you, no performance is complete without an audience and I was delighted at how many tickets had sold and more being purchased on the door.

Each group was a delight to watch and each offered something different to the mix.

Of course we had the obligatory raffle with tickets being bought like mad and even a collection at the end by Hampton the Hedgehog who came out of hibernation despite the weather.

With too many people to thank individually, I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this show on stage, backstage, behind the scenes and watching.

Although I do not know the final total yet I am hoping, and reasonably confident, to hit the target I had of £5,000 profit for this show which will be split equally between the Friends of Mewsbrook Park and the Littlehampton Heritage Railway Association when my charity appeal for the year is complete.

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