Festival founder left “speechless” by student efforts to keep Zeemon going

Hayley Fenn with performers at the first Zeemon Fest in 2013.
Hayley Fenn with performers at the first Zeemon Fest in 2013.

A teacher who used to work at Lawrence Sheriff School has said she feels ‘overwhelmed’ that a student music festival she started is continuing to grow year on year.

Hayley Fenn launched Zeemon Fest for pupils at the grammar school in 2013, shortly after her partner, Simon, died from pancreatic cancer.

The students decided the festival should be held in Simon’s memory and raise money for charity - and they have worked hard to make Zeemon Fest an annual event.

Speaking to the Advertiser, Hayley said: “I started this as an opportunity for the boys to perform the music they wanted to perform and show them that music is all about connecting people.

“It was them who introduced the fundraising element. I found that so touching.

“Simon loved music, we used to go to concerts together all the time.

“I think he would just be speechless if he saw all this - a bit like I am! I’m so overwhelmed and I couldn’t be more proud of the boys.”

She added: “I was 26 when Simon died and I can’t even articulate it now. But if we can get positive things like Zeemon Fest out of that tragedy, then that’s the best outcome we can hope for.”

Hayley is now a teaching fellow and PhD student at Harvard University in America but she will be back in the UK to attend this year’s Zeemon Fest on Friday, July 8.

It will take place at Lawrence Sheriff School, starting at 6pm, and is open to everyone. Tickets cost £4 on the door and all proceeds go to the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.