Caribbean celebration at Yarmouth racecourse for Macmillan

THE bright colours of the tropics are likely to be out in full force at a Caribbean celebration in Great Yarmouth, marking a cancer charity’s centenary.

On Friday, July 15 the town’s racecourse will play host to Caribbean Craze, a themed evening which celebrates 100 years of Macmillan Cancer Support.

And the announcement of the day came about as it emerged that, thanks to the efforts of a small committee, the charity’s local branch has raised nearly half a million pounds in just over a decade.

Borough councillor Bert Collins has been chairman of the group for more than two decades, while his wife Maureen has been secretary for around 40 years.

Made up of 11 members, they meet monthly at the Star Hotel in Yarmouth.

Mr Collins explained the theme for the summertime event had been decided by a local committee that had remained largely unchanged in the 11 years in which the �425,000 had been collected.

“You have all types of people involved from all around the area, whether Hemsby or Gorleston, and we meet monthly,” he said.

Most Read

“We thought a Caribbean theme would bring new people along, and younger people especially – we just wanted to make it less formal”

The event is set to include Caribbean food, music and fancy dress.

It is one of two major fundraisers over each year that have helped the group bring in the impressive sum for the charity, which provides more than 50 nurses offering support around Norfolk.

The other is November’s Macmillan Ball in the Ocean Rooms, which has grown from 90, to almost 400 people. An annual Tesco collection session is also a regular on the diary.

Additionally, volunteers will then head down to venues such as Seacroft Holiday Centre in Hemsby on a more regular basis to help generate what is often in the region of �40,000 a year.

As secretary, Mrs Collins is often at the heart of trying to get things organised as the deadline for such events approaches. It was she who discovered the figures after digging through the group’s accounts.

“You get used to it really, and with things like the Ocean Rooms event you couldn’t do it without others helping out – and people have always been very good.

“However, it’s getting harder in the last couple of years, as people often aren’t as well off as they were.”

That said, she is hoping for a lively evening’s entertainment in July and called the total raised over the 11 years “tremendous”.

She added: “It’s been quite hectic over the years for all of us but it all seems worth it – I didn’t realise it would be that much.”