A special fundraiser held in memory of a man who died from pancreatic cancer is being stepped up a gear this year – and its success could even be repeated in the States.
Zeemon Fest was launched at Lawrence Sheriff School in 2013 by music teacher Hayley Fenn. Her partner, Simon, died the year before following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Hayley left the school shortly afterwards to become a teaching fellow at Harvard University in America but the event still continues through the commitment of the students.
And this year they are determined to raise more money than ever before by encouraging larger numbers of people from all over town to attend.
So far the youngsters have secured enough music acts for three separate stages at the venue, with local bands such as Behind the Settee and Hanzo set to perform.
Curtis Allen, a year 11 student, is helping to organise this year’s event. He said: “Mrs Fenn is one of those teachers who it is easy to get on with and she really believes in the community aspect of teaching.
“For Sheriff students it’s so important to get involved with this project, especially for those of us who were taught by Hayley and who knew Simon. We see this as a tie we can’t break with him.
“The message we’re now trying to get out there is that this isn’t just a school event - we want everyone to come. It’s open to the whole town.”
Hayley Fenn spoke to the Advertiser and explained how Zeemon Fest began at Lawrence Sheriff. She said: “I thought that organising an event like this would be a way that I could help and benefit our students.
“As well as the performers, lots of students got involved to help - including Curtis, JJ and Hayden - and they suggested the name Zeemon Fest.
“I suggested Sheriff Fets, but they were adamant that they thought Zeemon Fest was appropriate. Zeemon was the nickname of Simon, my partner, and they wanted to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.”
When asked how she felt about the event living on in Rugby, Hayley added: “It means the world to me. I can’t even count the number of people I’ve told about the event and how it has continued since I left the school. I couldn’t be more proud.
“I invest deeply in my teaching as a teaching fellow in the music department at Harvard and I am a tutor in one of the undergraduate houses where I organize acoustic nights and impromptu performance events and I have recently been involved with a battle of the bands.”
“One day I hope to bring the energy and dedication of Zeemon Fest to Harvard. Zeemon Fest is second to none.”
This year’s Zeemon Fest will take place at Lawrence Sheriff School on Friday, July 8, starting at 6pm.
Tickets cost £4 on the door and all proceeds go to Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.