Sweltering temperatures brought over 25,000 visitors to the little town of Middlewich in Cheshire for this years June Folk & Boat Festival. John & Jackie Romero opened their garden for the third year running to all, so that funds could be raised for charity during the festival. The core of their weekend was titled 'Accordion Magic' and was part of the 'fringe' entertainment events for Middlewich during the festival. The entertainment line up included a number of well known faces from the accordion world. Harry Hussey, Jovan Rnjak, John Penny, Helen Rich, The Weaver Vally Orchestra & John himself all played a number of sets keeping the audience amused.
The Weaver Vally Accordion Orchestra was the highlight for Saturday and many stopped by to listen to the group. The visual highlight of the weekend though was The ‘Manchester Morris Men’ who were accompanied by Helen Rich and they managed to stop traffic as well as people passing by. All the artists and helpers must be given credit as all donated their services and time for free.
The music started each day at around 10 am and kept going until very late afternoon whereby a break was taken and those participating were invited to hang around, have the odd glass or two and join in a little evening music session with Harry.
Other highlights of the weekend included a disco and rock set played by John which led to dancing on both sides of the canal. Also a great impromptu set with Jovan, Carlos (accordions) and John (guitar). Another special mention should again go to John Penny who in addition to backing Harry, played and sung a solo set of Country & Rock numbers much in the style of Johnny Cash.
Whilst this was going on a team of helpers (mainly family members) spent time shaking buckets to raise funds for the Winstons Wish charity. The previous two years totals were beaten and the stunning amount of almost £600 was collected for this fabulous cause.
While John was busy organising the weekend music and events, Jackie was assisted by daughter Rebecca and sister in law Natalie, and the three kept all visiting the garden supplied from the coffee shop with hot and (mainly) cold drinks, ice creams and of course the homemade pastries and cakes for which Jackie is well known. The charity collecting side of things was run by Jackies brothers Andy & Keith and with the help of the kids they raised a stunning £598 for the Winstons Wish charity over the two days. This brings the total to approaching £14,000 for this great cause. For those not aware, Winstons Wish charity helps bereaved children and their families.
This was not the only group that was helped this year as a small local start up community group (www.middlewichann.co.uk) was also able to have a little bit of space and with the help of a grand raffle and other garden games they raised over £110 towards their funds. This will now help the group extend their reach in helping locals with additional needs.
John said "It was a bit cold and wet last year and we all prayed for hot weather this year, the only problem was I think we might have over done the praying as boy was it hot." He went on to say "It has been another fabulous FAB and we want to do it again next year so if anyone would like to volunteer please let us know".