Crowds continue to grow at Twickenham record fair, but charitable donations don’t reflect increased attendance

Twickenham record fair had one of its busiest days last Saturday but charitable donations for Shooting Star hospice were disappointingly low, the organiser said.

Steve Sutton, a painter and decorator, 61, credits the event’s popularity with his new advertising strategy, sticking flyers on shop windows and  laminated posters on railings.

Since starting in June 2018 the fair has donated £1,996 to Shooting Star hospice, a charity that cares for children with life-limiting conditions.

“We normally get 150 to 200 people, but this time it was heaving all morning,” he said. “There were 400 through the door and we raised £175. We raised £452 the first time when a similar number came. I was really disappointed as I hoped to beat that because it was so busy.

“Next time we will have to make sure that everyone pays. We do ask people to.”

Mr Sutton thanked Lin Summers from Radio Jackie for publicising the fair, which raises money for the hospice by asking attendees to donate a pound on the door.

He chose the charity because the hospice gave palliative care to his grandson and the mother after a complicated birth. She suffered a placental abruption at Kingston Hospital in November 2017.

“We’ve been through a horrific ordeal,” he said. “The mother lost 3.5 litres of blood after an emergency caesarean and the baby didn’t have a heartbeat for 15 minutes.”

After the mother had three blood transfusions, both were transported to St George’s Hospital by ambulance, where the baby was put on a life support machine.

They spent a week there, then moved to Shooting Star children’s hospice in Hampton.

“He is amazing. We are not out of the woods but they never expected him to see the light,” said Mr Sutton. “We still have some dealings with Shooting Star. They go there for various things. It was a much better place for them to be than a hospital. We are so grateful to Shooting Star.

“The staff were so kind and loving people and made us all so comfortable and the ongoing care is amazing. They are dedicated people and that is why I am so passionate to help their organisation.”

Despite raising nearly £2,000, he would have liked the fair to have contributed more.

“If we’d had done as well as we did the first time every month, we’d have raised £4000,” he added.

Mr Sutton is a big music fan himself, in a previous life he was a roadie, and he sells his own records at the fair.

“Music has always been my life, I’m a lover of music. Without people like me records shops would be going out of business,” he said.

Since his collection is running low, he is asking people to contact him if they’d like their records to be sold to raise funds for Shooting Star at future fairs. Call 07590 043024 or email [email protected].

The next fair is on 9 March.

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