Concert is hit by shop snub

A FUND-raiser s last-ditch attempt to rescue his charity concert has been rejected by some Ely traders. Shopkeepers have refused to advertise charity posters in their windows because it would spoil their displays. With less than a week before the concert

A FUND-raiser's last-ditch attempt to rescue his charity concert has been rejected by some Ely traders.

Shopkeepers have refused to advertise charity posters in their windows because it would spoil their displays.

With less than a week before the concert is due to take place, organiser Andrew Weedon is desperate to sell hundreds of tickets.

He visited city centre shops asking them to display the poster for the concert to raise funds for an appeal launched by Soham cancer victim Liam Fairhurst.


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Liam, 11, who underwent months of chemotherapy and radiation, has already raised £50,000, including cash from a sponsored mile-long swim, for CLIC Sargent, the children's cancer charity.

After hearing Liam's story, Ely's Meat Loaf tribute band, Matt Shaw and Neverland Nemesis, pledged to raise up to £7,000 from a show at The Junction, Cambridge.

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Matt, an ITV Stars in Your Eyes finalist who plays Meat Loaf, and his band planned to join a star-studded line-up on Wednesday evening. But only 41 of the 850 tickets have been sold.

Andrew said: "My biggest problem has been getting the message out there. Ninety per cent of the shops have refused to take the poster. They were not happy because it messes up their window displays and they don't want their windows cluttered up.

"I was a little surprised but not altogether surprised. I told them all about the charity appeal and they still refused to take the poster. I thought 'my God, what is the world coming to'

"I am determined that the concert will go-ahead, no matter what."

Staff at Millets outdoor supplies shop, in Ely, contacted management to get permission to go against company policy and display the poster.

Assistant manager Gareth Whitfield said: "We do have a policy not to advertise posters in the shop window because it does make it untidy. But, at the end of the day, it's down to the manager."

Staff at Burrow's bookshop were also happy to advertise the concert.

Shop assistant Holly Rutterford said: "We always put posters in our window. It didn't cross our minds not to display this one."

But, although concert organisers have been promoting Cambridge's Travelodge as a place to stay for people going to the concert, staff refused to display the poster.

Assistant manager Tony Plume said: "I really can't see why we shouldn't take them, but it is company policy not to allow any poster advertising. I work for the company so I have to support that policy."

Ely Traders' Association chairman, Elaine Griffin-Singh, who runs Griffin Antiques, in Forehill, said: "The problem is we get asked to put up so many posters and they can make the shop windows look messy.

"In a community like this it is hard to accept some over others because you would inevitably end up upsetting people. In a slightly callous way - and this doesn't apply in this case - some of the artistic events are making money and why should they do that through my shop window?"

- Tickets, priced £10, are available on 01223 511511.

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