Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper
Sharing chips at beach hut

Mark Thomas and friends sharing chips at beach hut Photo Bob Mazzer

Comedy benefit gig raises £1000s for HFS

A comedy benefit gig at the De La Warr Pavilion on 25 May raised over £4,000 for local charity Hastings and Rother Furniture Service (HFS). ‘Mark Thomas and Friends’ featured a stellar line-up of stand-up comedians – Bridget Christie, Tiernan Douieb, Jay Foreman, Robin Ince, Daniel Kitson, Shazia Mirza – most of whom had travelled from London to perform at the event for free. The benefit gig was conceived and put together by the comedian and activist, Mark Thomas, who has been HFS’s patron for over a decade. Naomi Ridley writes.

Raising money for HFS’s Starter Pack scheme, which provides basic cooking and cleaning items for households starting out again with nothing after a crisis, the performers delivered almost three hours of fantastic comedy at the Bexhill venue. The charity has been overwhelmed by the generosity of the stand-ups, the local community who supported the event and the positive messages it has received from audience members following the gig.

Mark Thomas on stage

Mark Thomas on stage Photo Bob Mazzer

On average, our most basic starter pack costs around £65 and provides essential household items for people starting out again from scratch after a crisis such as homelessness, time in a refuge or fire/flood damage to property. The huge amount of money raised by the gig will help us keep this vital service running throughout this year and beyond, helping countless local households cook for themselves, clean their homes and wash themselves and their children in their new homes. It’s a small thing that makes an enormous difference to people’s lives at a difficult time.

We are so grateful to Mark Thomas and all of the performers for supporting our charity – and to all of the people who bought tickets for the gig. We have been incredibly touched by the messages we have received both from the performers and the audience members telling us what a fantastic night they had.

Mark Thomas gig goodie bags

Mark Thomas gig goodie bags

HFS would also like to thank all the local individuals and businesses who helped put together a ‘Thank You Goodie Bag’ for each of the performers: Borough Wines, Beers and Books; Carr Taylor Vineyards; Claire Fletcher and Peter Quinnell; De La Warr Pavilion; The Hastings Lemon Ketchup Company Ltd; Hastings Old Town Rock Shop; Leroy Henry, Martel Colour Print; Pea Crabtree; Trinity Wholefoods; Wow and Flutter and The No Plastic Shop.

The gig also presented an ideal opportunity to launch HFS’s ‘Re-use Manifesto’, which celebrates the charity’s 30th anniversary this year. Featuring words and phrases which reflect the charity’s ethos of recycling, re-use and repair, the Manifesto was designed by St Leonards-based artist, Pea Crabtree who is also employed as an HFS driver and printed locally by Martel Colour Print. Copies of the Manifesto are now available in both of HFS’s stores for £5.

HFS collects and reuses furniture and electrical goods to help low-income households and provides training and opportunities for people with low incomes in Hastings and Rother. Read more about HFS.

Mark Thomas with HFS van

Mark Thomas with HFS van

Posted 18:27 Wednesday, Jun 13, 2018 In: Comedy

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