Clowning around at Pecorama

EVERY year an East Devon tourist attraction sets aside one day in the summer to fundraise for a worthy cause.

EVERY year an East Devon tourist attraction sets aside one day in the summer to fundraise for a worthy cause. Thousands of pounds have been raised for a variety of local charities for more than a decade, but this year's cause is special for two reasons. Pecorama at Beer is raising money for cancer support charity FORCE, as it celebrates its 21st anniversary, and a year after the attraction's managing director, Michael Pritchard, survived cancer. His family members were introduced to services offered by FORCE as he underwent major surgery. "We raised money for Cancer Research UK last year and didn't hesitate when FORCE was suggested for this year's open garden day," said Mr Pritchard. Pecorama's miniature railway will only be part of what is on offer on Sunday, July 20. There will be guided tours of Peco's Celebration Garden, colourful performances from folk dance group Firestone and children's entertainment from Spangles the Clown. Cream teas will be served to the sound of piano music on the Garden Room terrace. A highlight of the event will be a talk by Meriel Fishwick, chief executive of FORCE. All the gate money (minus VAT) taken on the day will benefit FORCE. Mr Pritchard is excited by this year's line-up of entertainment. He said Firestone is like West Country meets River Dance, with plenty of tap dance-style routines. Ms Fishwick's appearance is scheduled to take place around mid-afternoon, probably at 3pm. (Watch this space for updates.) Guided tours and talks about the garden will take place during the day. Pecorama's open garden day will take place from 10am to 5.30pm. Mr Pritchard is hoping for a good turnout. "The more people we get come to see us, the more FORCE will obtain," he said.

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