Sidmouth FolkWeek peace event success

First Peace Concert for Hiroshima Day in the Ham Marquee was 33 years in the making

WHEN FolkWeek stalwart and peace activist Maisie Carter visited Sidmouth with a friend for a holiday 33 years ago, little did she know an event she has promoted every year since would grace the landmark week’s biggest venue on its final day.

Roy Bailey’s Peace Concert for Hiroshima Day wowed an audience of hundreds last Friday, and for the first time took place in the Ham Marquee.

The two-hour spectacular, which featured Sandra Kerr, Chumbawamba and David Ferrard, was a stark contrast to handing out leaflets and seeing a handful of people gather outdoors for the woman who co-originated the event more than three decades ago.

“I visited Sidmouth with a friend 33 years ago and have been every year since,” Maisie told the Herald. “We realised it was Hiroshima Day in the week we were on holiday and are both active peace campaigners.

“We started delivering leaflets by hand. A number of people came and it was quite small with half an hour of reading and singing, but each year it grew.”

“We gained support from performers and organisers and two years ago had grown to about 100 or 200 people near the Ham Marquee in the open.

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“For a concert to take place in there was really historic and something quite major. It was really very, very moving, really inspiring. Roy Bailey is not only a great singer but a great personality. He got everyone to stand up which was really impressive.

“It was a great experience for those of us who have worked on it for all those years. I hope we can return for a major annual event.”