Bank holiday festival to share a virtual hug

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This bank holiday weekend you will be able to take part in a 3 day virtual festival, with a line up including live music, arts & crafts, storytelling, bake alongs, yoga, cocktail workshops and much more, there will even be a learn to Lindy hop tutorial for VE day.

Event organiser Annie Hambley with son Bodhi
Event organiser Annie Hambley with son Bodhi

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.

Event organiser Annie Hambley, 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 virtual sleepover event and they had all these amazing events set up with links to various activities, we had a really fantastic time and felt that happy, carefree feeling you get from a festival, so thought “let’s do our own little one”

“I was planning to do it over two days, but the response by people wanting to be involved was incredible and with it being VE day on the Friday I thought let’s make a long weekend of it”

“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 events line up will be available on the festivals Facebook page from Thursday and the links to access the activities and artists performing will be posted throughout the weekend at www.facebook.com/rainbowsandhappydays

There will also be a festival ‘market village’ with links to buy festival food, drink, produce, craft materials and clothes to support local businesses who are finding things tough during the pandemic. The Saturday night of the festival is “takeaway night, with local businesses joining in to deliver pizzas, wine, brownies and meals locally.

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

Annie said: “although this current time is isolating, it has also brought people together, I have made some wonderful new friends through social media and massive thanks to fellow mum Clare Roberts, who got in touch and has created the logo and design work, she had also been a great personal support”

“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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