Benefit gig raises £4k for charity

Comedian and HFS patron, Mark Thomas SUS-180606-133754001
Comedian and HFS patron, Mark Thomas SUS-180606-133754001

A comedy benefit gig at the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill raised more than £4,000 for local charity Hastings and Rother Furniture Service (HFS).

The benefit gig was conceived and produced by comedian and activist Mark Thomas who has been the HFS patron for more than a decade.

Held on May 25, ‘Mark Thomas and Friends’ featured a stellar line-up of stand-up comedians. Along with Mark Thomas, Bridget Christie, Tiernan Douieb, Jay Foreman, Robin Ince, Daniel Kitson, and Shazia Mirza took to the stage. Most of the artistes travelled from London to perform at the event for free.

The show raised money for HFS’s Starter Pack scheme, which provides basic cooking and cleaning items for households starting up again after a crisis. HFS CEO Naomi Ridley says the performers delivered around three hours of fantastic comedy. “The charity has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the stand-ups, the local community who supported the event and the positive messages received from audience members following the gig,” she said.

“On average, our most basic starter pack costs around £65 and provides essential household items for people starting from scratch after a crisis such as homelessness, time in a refuge or fire/flood damage to property. The huge amount of money raised by the gig will help keep this vital service running throughout this year and beyond, helping countless local households cook for themselves, clean their homes and wash themselves and their children in their new homes. It’s a small thing that makes an enormous difference to people’s lives at a difficult time.”

HFS collects and reuses furniture and electrical goods to help low-income households and provides training and opportunities for people with low incomes in Hastings and Rother.

Naomi added: “We are so grateful to Mark Thomas, all the performers for supporting our charity and all the people who bought tickets for the gig. We have been incredibly touched by messages received from the performers and the audience members telling us what a fantastic night they had.

“HFS also thank local individuals and businesses who helped put together a ‘Thank You Goodie Bag’ for each of the performers.

“The gig also presented an ideal opportunity to launch the HFS ‘Re-use Manifesto’ which celebrates the charity’s 30th anniversary this year. Featuring words and phrases which reflect the charity’s ethos of recycling, re-use and repair, the Manifesto was designed by St Leonards artist Pea Crabtree who is also employed as an HFS driver, and printed locally by Martel Colour Print. Copies are available in HFS stores for £5.”