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Bishop's Stortford mayor's indoor picnic raises £1,060 for VIP Club for partially sighted




Bishop's Stortford's mayor kicked off his post-Covid fundraising campaign with an indoor picnic which generated £1,060 for the town's VIP Club for the partially sighted.

Cllr Keith Warnell was joined by other 'chains', or civic leaders, from across Herts and Essex, including those of Dunmow, Sawbridgeworth, Broxbourne, Welwyn, Stevenage and Hertsmere for the event, which was switched from the Monastery Gardens in Windhill to St Michael's Mead Community Centre with just 24 hours' notice when the weather turned.

Cllr Warnell said: "We managed to accommodate 66 people at the appropriate social distance, were entertained by the Dave Jackson Trio and enjoyed a great picnic and cream tea by Copleys Catering."

Cllr Keith Warnell's fundraising afternoon in aid of the VIP Club with 'The Chain Gang' and, right, Monika Hills of the VIP Club. Pic: Vikki Lince
Cllr Keith Warnell's fundraising afternoon in aid of the VIP Club with 'The Chain Gang' and, right, Monika Hills of the VIP Club. Pic: Vikki Lince

The Hatfield Heath band's performance was a high spot for the mayor. He spotted their talents at South Mill Arts and booked them for his fundraiser, but Dave died in May. His wife Janet, who plays bass, was determined to honour their commitment in his memory.

"Janet phoned me and said they still wanted to do the gig because Dave's last words were 'Keep doing the music and don't give up'," said the mayor. "That touched me and it was their first gig with a new keyboard player since Dave's death. I told the story on stage at the start and they got a great round of applause. Fabulous."

His next event is on Friday October 8, when the Indie's nature correspondent Jono Forgham will give a talk at South Mill Arts.

Mayor Cllr Keith Warnell with the Jan Jackson Trio (formerly Dave Jackson Trio) – from left, Kris Borowski, Janet Jackson and Costa Fafalios. Pic: Vikki Lince (50744888)
Mayor Cllr Keith Warnell with the Jan Jackson Trio (formerly Dave Jackson Trio) – from left, Kris Borowski, Janet Jackson and Costa Fafalios. Pic: Vikki Lince (50744888)

Jono will be sharing stories and photos from his 55 years of birdwatching and nature recording. Tickets cost £16.50, with free admission for under-14s, and proceeds will be split between the mayor's chosen charity cause, Isabel Hospice, and MindGarden Learning Centre in Sri Lanka, where Jono is a long-term supporter.

The VIP Club meets the first Tuesday afternoon of each month, 2pm-4.30pm, at Havers Lane Community Centre in Waytemore Road for social contact, practical support and occasional outings.



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