Totterdown parties for the refugees

Published on: 26 Feb 2016

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FIVE new friends with one vision tapped into the deep well of community spirit in South Bristol to mount their own festival in aid of refugees.

Only a few weeks ago none of the five knew each other well. 

Public relations professional Jacqui Day got together with mental health carer Gaily Orr, decorator Beth Sanders, GP Alex Shaw and Jon Evans, landlord of the Oxford pub, who provided the venue.

It began with Alex asking on BS3 Connect for donations he could take to refugees in Greece. Soon the five began talking online and realised there was enough enthusiasm for something more.

“It shows that Bristol is a great community. regardless of your background, people come together,” said Jacqui. Soon the five were working with Shazia Malik, whose WeCare charity in Easton collected tons of aid and sent two containers full to Syria.

As Jacqui and Gaily started appealing to businesses, gifts came in from all over South Bristol and beyond.

The event snowballed into a weekend of music, crafts, children’s events and food.

Auction prizes ranged from a weekend in Majorca to a hula hooping course from Totterdown’s Cat Hoops.

Local artists including Lou Boyce, Amy Vans and Laura Cruttenden donated their work and Jon Evans began to regret donating his own Star Wars Darth Vader mask!

Other prizes included a spa day at Bristol Lido, an iPad from estate agents CJ Hole and a course in Krav Maga self defence from Bedminster’s Clint Badlam.

Still more included a £75 voucher towards wedding flowers from Floriography, a hamper from the Banana Boat, a haircut and blow dry from Sam Barton and a £25 voucher from Riverside Garden Centre.

During the afternoons children made felted soaps, nightlight holders, origami hats, glitter tattoos, hair feathers and enjoyed face painting. 

The Gert Totters Bake Off attracted Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton from the Pony and Trap in Somerset to judge the entries with master baker Ash Symons from Totterdown’s Baked and Jon Evans.

“It all shows the power of social media,” said Jacqui. “I didn’t know any of the others before, now I have four good friends and we are looking at what we can do next.” Alex for one has not taken a break: he took two weeks’ holiday to fly to Greece, where he provided medical care to refugees in the north of the country.

The appeal raised more than £4,000, including:

• Saturday entry, donations, cake sales, crafts: £668.66

• Sunday entry, craft workshops and donations: £320.31

• Saturday curry-off: £305

• Sunday raffle: £435.19

• Saturday auction: £1,649

The money goes to Off Track Health, One Nation and Alex’s work in Greece.

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