Dorchester Hospice label fete as a massive success

Dorset Echo: Dorchester Mayor Andy Canning, right, with James Canning and Mel Lane enjoy the coconut shy Dorchester Mayor Andy Canning, right, with James Canning and Mel Lane enjoy the coconut shy

HUNDREDS of people enjoyed a record-breaking charity fete in Indian summer sunshine.

The seventeenth Weldmar Hospicecare Trust summer fete in Dorchester was declared a success with huge crowds enjoying the attractions, browsing the stalls and supporting the popular local cancer charity.

It was an event that nearly didn’t happen after unprecedented downpours in west Dorset earlier in the summer meant organisers had to postpone the fete’s original date in July.

Then a week ago thousands of pounds worth of fete stock stored ready for the big day on Saturday was destroyed when vandals set fire to a skip close by in the grounds of the Joseph Weld Hospice in Dorchester.

But organisers said they had been ‘humbled’ by the amount of goods donated by the community in the last few days to make up for the shortfall.

Event organiser Matt Smith said this year’s fete ‘topped numbers’ compared to previous years, adding that the day had been “incredible bearing in mind the situation we were in a week ago”.

Money is still being counted but looks as though thousands will be raised for the charity.

This year’s fete included music from Chris Groves and a performance from Dorchester’s YMCA Gymnasts.

West Dorset-based actor and Weldmar supporter Martin Clunes was not available to make his usual appearance, but he was able to offer a walk-on part in the ITV1 drama Doc Martin, in which he stars, as one of the prizes in the silent auction. This lot made £300.

A backstage tour of the This Morning set with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford raised £150, a day-out on a cabin cruiser exploring the islands off Poole Harbour raised £150 and a 30-minute flight in a Tiger Moth plane sold for £160.

Chief executive Alison Ryan said: “I am knocked out by the support and generosity of the public and I would like to express the Trust’s gratitude to everyone involved.”

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