Parents channel tragedy to raise money for terminally ill children
A two day rock festival is heading to Hastings next month to raise money for disabled, sick and terminally ill children.
The Mearfest rock festival – which was set up by Brain and Claire Mear in memory of their stillborn daughter Molly – will be held at the Carlisle Pub, in Pelham Crescent, Hastings, on Friday, December 8, and Saturday, December 9.
Mearfest was originally set up by Brian to help him channel the grief of losing his mother Sally to cancer in 2010.
It was then rebranded in 2014 – six months after Molly’s death – to focus on different charities and to feature Molly’s hand print as the new logo.
Brian said: “After Molly’s death, I just did not know what to do with myself for about two years.
“Claire and I decided to switch the emphasis of the festival onto that of stillborn charities because of the help they provided us in the years that followed.
“People come to this festival from all over the place. Last year, we even had someone come over from Mexico City who travelled 6,500 miles just to be there.
“It is a great experience because there are a lot of men at the event, but they are often remembering their children who died maybe 20, 30, 40 years ago. It’s not like most rock festivals, it is really emotional.”
Brian and Claire, who come from Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire, have previously held the rock festival in London and Newcastle.
This year, the festival will feature 17 bands, including one from Paris.
All the bands will perform for free in front of a backdrop which features a print of Molly’s hand.
Brian added: “The reason we chose the Carlisle Pub was because it is a great rock venue with a stage upstairs and downstairs.
“Whenever we travel around to host these festivals, we like to pick a local charity because we want local people to feel a part of the event and they like to donate to a local cause.”
This year’s festival will be raising money for Charity for Kids and the Willow Support Group, in Reading, which provided Brian and Claire with support shortly after Molly’s death.
The previous festivals have raised thousands of pounds for charity and Brian hopes to continue this trend next month.
Tickets for the Friday are free with tickets for the Saturday priced at £10. They can be purchased via the website at www.mearfest.org or at the venue.