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Shrewsbury Mum to hold virtual Bank Holiday festival to raise money for Shropshire hospitals

A Shrewsbury mum has organised a three-day online festival to raise money for Shropshire’s acute hospitals.

Annie Hambley has put together the Rainbows and Happy Days Festival, which will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Money raised will go to The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) Charity, to support staff at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford.

Annie, who was one of the founders of Shrewsbury’s Big Busk festival, said she decided to organise the event because she felt everybody needed a “big virtual hug” as they cope with the restrictions put in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Annie, 38, said: “We watched the Camp Bestival event, because obviously they had to move everything online because of the coronavirus outbreak, and they had all these things set up with links to various activities and we had a really brilliant time. It took us away from what’s going on and we had a really lovely weekend, so I thought: ‘Why not do our own little one?’

Annie Hambley (Image: Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust)

“I was planning to do it over two days, but then I put it out there, and the community responded brilliantly and everyone wanted to be a part of it, so now it will be over three days.

“I think everyone needs a great, big hug at the moment and if you can’t give one to the people you love then this is how I’m going to do it – a big virtual hug via an online festival.”

The event will feature children’s activities, storytelling, jewellery making, yoga and workout sessions, festival food classes, cocktail making classes and, of course, live music.

There will also be a festival ‘market village’ to support local businesses who are finding things tough during the pandemic.

People can donate to SaTH by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rainbowsandhappydaysfestival

Annie said: “With huge thanks to fellow mum Clare Roberts, who has created the logo and done the design work and has been completely invaluable, we have set up a Rainbows and Happy Days Festival From Home page on Facebook and the idea is that throughout the weekend we will put links up as events are about to start, in the same way that you would have a line-up at a festival.

“We really want as many people as possible to join in live, but the links will also be available for people to download and watch at a later time.

“I’m also asking people to take a picture of themselves giving a virtual hug, and send it to rainbowsandhappydays@gmail.com. The idea is to make a video of one big community virtual hug.”

Annie is no stranger to fundraising for SaTH. In 2018 she and husband Mark raised money for the Trust’s Shropshire and Mid Wales Fertility Centre to thank them following the birth of their son, Bodhi.

Julia Clarke, Director responsible for SaTH Charity, said: “This is a fantastic idea and a great way to support our charity and everyone who is staying at home and looking for something to do this Bank Holiday weekend. A huge thank you to Annie and to everyone who is taking part in the festival.”

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