Fundraising for Seafest to begin

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ORGANISERS behind Scarborough’s annual maritime festival are about to launch a major fundraising effort to make up a shortfall in council funding.

Cllr Janet Jefferson, who is the chairman of the Seafest Working Group, confirmed that the three-day event would take place between Friday July 15, and Sunday July 17.

She said that they had received less in funding from Scarborough Council this year but the authority was still supportive of the event. “We have to generate some form of income – that’s the way it’s always been,” she said.

It is understood that a meeting has been arranged to finalise Seafest’s fund-raising efforts.

Cllr Jefferson said that the council gave the event free use of the West Pier, which was invaluable, but the council budget was now reduced in the wake of the Government’s recent comprehensive spending review,

She added: “We are getting a smaller amount from the council and a smaller amount from Welcome To Yorkshire. But we have got funding.”

Cllr Jefferson said that the festival also benefited from a large amount of goodwill from local businesses as well as an army of volunteers who gave up their own time. She said: “We’ve got to go out and get more funding. A lot of people volunteer and pull together for this event.

“It’s a wonderful festival for the community. ”

The first Seafest was in 1999 and it has grown from strength to strength since then.

Last year saw a large Winston Churchill sand sculpture take shape and visitors were invited to donate to the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI).

Previously it has been funded by grants from organisations including Welcome to Yorkshire, Yorkshire Moors and Coast, and Scarborough Council, along with other local businesses and individuals.

Each year it strives to host the region’s biggest gathering of folk singers, shantymen and musicians.

Richard Grainger, the festival’s music organiser, said the fundraising appeal was due to be launched on Saturday.

He added: “In the light of the current economic climate, organisers of Scarborough’s Seafest Maritime Music Festival have announced that they are to hold a series of fundraising events in the town.

“We know how much the event means to everyone in Scarborough and to the tourism industry and hope that many will rally round and come along to enjoy the music and the fun on offer.”

He added that several festival regulars had promised to help. He said: “There’ll be music throughout Saturday in The Leeds Arms and around the town. Admission is free but please make a donation or join in the raffle.

“Local businesses are invited to get involved by donating raffle prizes.”

People who would like to help with the appeal are urged to contact (01287) 660060 or email: richard-grainger@tiscali.co.uk

A further fundraising event is planned for next month and the date will be announced shortly.