Sidmouth’s John runs festival collecting team

Folk Week collecting team do a stirling job led by John

AN important role is played each year by the FolkWeek official collecting team.

This year, having taken over from Tony and Viv Day, John Dyson from Manor Road, Sidmouth, with help from wife Ann, is co-ordinating the eight collectors and two ‘office’ helpers, and making sure he “accounts for every penny”.

“It is a pretty full time job,” says John, a former director of an investment management company, “but I am enjoying it. I think the festival is a fantastic week because there is entertainment everywhere.

“Some people have said you don’t know where to go because there is so much, and clearly there is a spontaneous and pleasant atmosphere in the town.”

From the town centre base where John, Ann and helpers count the money – which comes in at around �1,000 a day – collectors are ‘dispatched’ with collecting tins around the town, to seek donations from those enjoying non-concert music and dancing displays.

Jenny Moon from Lympstone has been a collector for five years and this year roped in friend Rich Gannon from the Mull of Kintyre, Scotland.

Most Read

Jenny said: “We don’t collect anywhere unless we are within earshot of music or dance and people are being entertained.

“The rules of thumb include not collecting at venues where money is taken on the door.”

Each collector works a four-hour shift and returns the tins as they fill up or get too heavy.

There have been about 200 tins in circulation during the week and collectors liaise with one another to ensure the town is covered. For their efforts they are rewarded with a free festival pass.

Once the money is in, John and Ann have to count it – electronically – bag it and either bank it or re-circulate it, exchanging change for notes at local venues.

“Two staff help in the office, working shifts. People can be coming in for tins at 9am and there will be collectors out around the pubs at 10pm. This base has to be permanently manned,” said John, who looks set to volunteer for the job in 2011.