Sidmouth music man raises thousands-of-pounds for cancer charity

Will Vine with his three-year-old daughter Lily

Will Vine with his three-year-old daughter Lily - Credit: Will Vine

Sidmouth musician, Ashley Leeds, has raised more than £15,000 for Clic Sargent cancer charity by arranging a live 24-hour virtual open mic event.

Ashley Leeds during the 24-hour open mic event

Ashley Leeds during the 24-hour open mic event - Credit: Ashley Leeds


With less than four weeks notice, 96 performances took place around the clock and were streamed live on YouTube from 4pm on Friday, March 12 to 4pm Saturday, March13.

The event was inspired by the good news that Lily Vine, three-year-old daughter of Will Vine who is a close friend and fellow musician of Ashley’s, was going to be ‘ringing the bell’ at Bristol Royal Children’s Hospital on Wednesday, March 17, where she has undergone nine months of aggressive treatment for a rare tumour pressing on her spine and ribs.

Lily and her sister say thank you to all those who donated

Lily and her sister say thank you to all those who donated - Credit: Will Vine


Lily’s intensive treatment meant long stays in hospital and the family have been supported by CLIC Sargent, a charity that supports children with cancer and their families.

Will, who performs with Ashley together in local band Vine & Dandy, said: “We are amazed with what Ashley has achieved. Like many, we did not appreciate the indispensable work by CLIC Sargent until we needed it. We are so pleased that everyone’s efforts will go on to help other families like ours”.

Ashley Leeds during the 24-hour open mic event

Ashley Leeds during the 24-hour open mic event - Credit: Ashley Leeds


Ashley said: “The event brought together musicians from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland as well as from France, The Netherlands, Italy and America. Playing live on Zoom presented many people with sound issues and other challenges but we put on an incredible 24-hour live performance. I knew from prior experiences that a live mic would be a challenge in itself but as my daughter pointed out, ‘it’s been a challenge for Lily, too’. At that point, I knew I had to host the entire event for 24 hours myself. 


“It was completely exhilarating to have brought together some incredible musicians from very experienced professional bands like Mad Dog McCrae, Norman Bowman and even Mike Reid the radio DJ, to people who were doing their first live performance. We’re all missing live music and I can’t wait to be playing again as part of Vine & Dandy.” 
 
Donations have so far reached £15,624.47, which will fund CLIC Sargent to accommodate a family for 15 months while their child undergoes treatment for cancer.
Ashley said: “It would be incredible if we can get to £20,000 so please either Text LILY to 70460 to donate £3. Texts cost £3 plus one standard rate message or donate at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lilys-live-lounge”.

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