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27-hour music marathon raises over £14,000 for Essex charities

By Ben Shahrabi

People singing
Mersea Island's community centre welcomed more than 300 musicians to its marathon fundraiser. (Credit: Alan Head)
A mammoth 27-hour live music marathon has seen hundreds of performers raise funds for 25 worthy causes, which will receive a slice of over £14,000.

More than 300 musicians of all ages took turns to play for a total of 27 hours and 20 minutes, at the Mersea Island Community Association (MICA) Centre.

Kids dancing
Volunteers of all ages got stuck in. (Credit: Alan Head)

It was all to raise funds for a new sound system at the centre, along with 24 charities in Mersea and across Essex.

Organiser Ian Jewitt, 60, says he was left “exhausted but overjoyed” by the “incredibly well-supported” event.

He added: “It was important, not just musically or regarding fundraising, but it showed the community pulling together. We’re incredibly lucky to have an appetite for that.

“We had 150 chairs for the audience, which were pretty full most of the time – apart from in the very early hours of the morning – and lots of people standing.”

Ian performing
Organiser Ian was among those performing. (Credit: Alan Head)

Mr Jewitt, of East Road, East Mersea, says the island’s “community spirit” is key to the fundraiser’s success.

He said: “We had so many people who wanted to take part that we had to add an extra hour to squeeze them all in.”

In total, 52 acts each played 30-minute slots. But the marathon posed a logistical challenge.

Mr Jewitt said: “It was like a relay race. We had to keep the music going al the time, which set a challenge for everyone. But it created a real buzz and gave us a sense of achievement.

“By the end, myself and the other volunteers had been awake for around 40 hours. I was exhausted but overjoyed.

“It boosted so many people’s spirits.”

Performers were supported by 80 volunteers and members of staff, bringing the total involved to more than 400 people.

The marathon ran from Friday 17 until Saturday 18 May; however, the fundraiser is still accepting donations until June 17. The team hopes to beat its £20,000 target.

Residents and performers piled into the MICA Centre. (Credit: Alan Head)

Good causes include the Mersea Community Support Centre, St Helena’s Hospice, and Colchester Gateway – which helps adults with additional needs. Funds will also go to the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, the Music Man Project, and the RNLI.


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