Thou­sands out for summer fair

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Pilgrims Hospices Fair A Record- - By Suz Elvey

They came from all over to help raise cash for one of Ash­ford’s big­gest char­i­ties when it held its an­nual summer fair at the week­end.

Pil­grims Hos­pices opened the gates to its site in Hythe Road, Willes­bor­ough, and ad­mit­ted an es­ti­mated record-break­ing 3,000 peo­ple.

A hu­man fruit ma­chine – three peo­ple peer­ing through win­dows, hold­ing up pic­tures of fruits and re­act­ing to hooters and bells – proved pop­u­lar with young­sters while adults won ev­ery one of the 1,000 bot­tles in what the char­ity dubbed the un­of­fi­cial world record big­gest bot­tle tombola.

There was also a lucky dip, live mu­sic, a timed hook-abot­tle game, a co­conut shy, book stall and more.

Jo Sut­ton from Folke­stone, grate­ful to Pil­grims for sup­port­ing sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers, dyed her hair blue then was spon­sored to have it shaved off at the fair, rais­ing £2,500 for the char­ity.

She said: “Any­one who has ever had any con­tact with the Pil­grims Hospice knows what an amaz­ing role it plays in the lives of its pa­tients and their fam­i­lies, who ben­e­fit from sup­port in of­ten very trau­matic cir­cum­stances.”

The thou­sands of peo­ple who went to the fair on Satur­day af­ter­noon helped to raise a stag­ger­ing £21,000.

Re­gional fundrais­ing man­ager Nigel Donkin said: “This was our big­gest and best summer fair so far. The hu­man fruit ma­chine was very in­ter­ac­tive and very com­i­cal.

“Ev­ery­thing for sale had been do­nated. Whether it was the book stall, which made more than £800, or the jew­ellery stand which sold £600 of goods, it was all down to the gen­eros­ity of the com­mu­nity.”

Mr Donkin wished to thank the 225 vol­un­teers who helped run the event and Stage­coach for lay­ing on a free park and ride ser­vice.

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