Debut festival eyes �20k charity boost

SET under a glorious blue sky, a major festival in Great Yarmouth is expected to have raised around �20,000 for charity. More than 2,000 people gathered at the Racecourse on Sunday for the first Embrace Festival, combining sport, music and comedy.

SET under a glorious blue sky, a major festival in Great Yarmouth is expected to have raised around �20,000 for charity.

More than 2,000 people gathered at the Racecourse on Sunday for the first Embrace Festival, combining sport, music and comedy.

The event got off to a fast start, with almost 300 runners taking part in a three-mile fun run while the rest of the day was filled with entertainment from a fashion show and performances by live local bands.

The festival, which incorporated the James Paget University Hospital fete, was opened by Lady Knollys, deputy lord lieutenant of Norfolk. Addressing the crowds and runners before they set off, Lady Knollys added her thanks to the sponsors and supporters who had made the day happen, including main sponsor, Asda of Lowestoft.


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The event was in aid of Palliative Care East, which aims to build a dedicated care centre for terminally ill patients in the Yarmouth and Waveney, and Lady Knollys spoke of the need for the centre.

She said: “There are 24,000 people in the Yarmouth and Waveney area, including their families, who are affected by incurable illnesses, that is enough to fill Norwich City's football ground. The centre will provide holistic care, emotional, spiritual and practical support for patients and their families.

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“The �875,000 that has been raised so far, I think, is fantastic. It's up to everyone here today to get a little nearer to that goal of �1.5m.”

John Hemming, hospital trust chairman, added his thanks to the sponsors and organisers.

The speeches were followed by a warm-up session for the runners and walkers taking part in the sponsored fun run - some in fancy dress, while others completed the race in roller skates.

Yarmouth mayor and mayoress Tony and Sara Smith sounded the starting pistol to signal the start of the race, and as runners sprinted into action hundreds of green and red balloons were released into the air.

From then it was non-stop entertainment, with live acts taking to the stage including popular girl band EFX, Llewelyn, Autumn Rain, Route II and the Big Red Boat.

In between performances crowds were treated to a fashion show by stylists from Fusion Hair Consultants, based in Gorleston High Street, who throughout the day offered styling demonstrations in return for a donation to Palliative Care East.

Stylists had just minutes to create their look on stage before the models from The Venue in Lowestoft strutted to the beat in a catwalk performance.

As live acts on the purpose-built stage entertained the crowds special guests including charity patrons mingled in the VIP area.

A charity auction hosted by Charles Bycroft and Dale Gordon raised �2,200 with a behind-the-scenes tour of Horseguard Parade in London sparking a bidding war between appeal patrons Brian Potter and Ian McCreadie, eventually going at �1,000 with the pair sharing the prize for up to 10 people.

Main organisers Spencer McCormack, director of BWell Health Clubs, and appeal co-ordinator Jenny Westgate, said they were delighted with the event.

Mr McCormack said: “For us it was fantastic. It was a great end to an enjoyable year of planning and an event which the whole community got involved in.”

He added his thanks to Lowestoft Sea Cadets for helping man the gates on the day and to the 400 people who had made the day happen.

Mrs Westgate said: “To see the runners, especially those in fancy dress, warming up before the fun run was just fantastic. There was a splendid atmosphere throughout the day, which was well supported.”

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