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Rotary living advent calendar proves a hit

Rotary living advent calendar proves a hit

Rotarians in Dorset have raised almost £20,000 over the festive season through a living advent calendar.

The Christchurch Living Advent Calendar (CLAC) was launched at the beginning of December and organised by the town’s Rotary club.

For 24 days, different town centre venue opened at 6.15pm each day to reveal a local talent performing for about half an hour to support a Dorset charity – 24 nights, 24 venues, and 24 performances all hosted by one town.

The Living Advent Calendar, based on a concept first staged in Sweden more than 15 years ago, was brought to life in Christchurch in December by Christchurch Rotary Club. It was supported by more than 120 local businesses and organisations.

CLAC has vastly exceeded our expectations and has raised nearly £20,000 for local charities.”

As with a traditional advent calendar, the identities of performers were not announced before the event, but they were subsequently publicised on the event website.

An impressive £12,000 for local charities was raised by sponsorship before the event, with more being contributed by the public at each performance. The total raised currently stands at £19,344.

The advent calendar concluded on Christmas Eve with a performance in Saxon Square, attended by the Mayor of Christchurch, Councillor Sue Bungey.

She thanked the Christchurch Rotarians for their work, led by Jan Banks and her husband Vince who had brought the event to the town, delighting audiences ranging from 50 to 500 people.

Rotarian Jan Banks, now head of the Christchurch Rotary organising committee, lead the project along with her husband Vince.

Echoing the Mayor’s praise for Jan and her team, Christchurch Rotary President, Marianne Abley, also thanked Christchurch Town Council and District Council for their encouragement and. support.

She said: “I am so proud that the first CLAC was in my year as President – a real honour for me and the club.

“Well done Jan, Vince and the CLAC Team. The whole initiative, amount of hard work and support from so many is truly amazing, passing all our expectations.”

The Living Advent Calendar, based on a concept first staged in Sweden more than 15 years ago, was brought to life in Christchurch in December by Christchurch Rotary Club.”

Jan also spoke about the charity due to benefit from the Christmas Eve performance, Ashley’s Birthday Bank, which helps underprivileged children and families in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area.

The surprise performers on this occasion were the Christchurch U3A Vintage Brass Band, who played Christmas music to an appreciative audience. The sponsor for the day, Little Lives UK, presented Ashley’s Birthday Bank with their cheque for £500.

£500 was raised and presented by the club to local charity Ashley’s Bank.

Kelvin Medley- Jones, on behalf of the Primrose Trust, the principal sponsor of the event, said: “When Pippa and I met with Jan and Vince Banks in May to discuss CLAC, we immediately recognised the potential impact it could have for our local charities.

“We were keen to support the project, and to have the opportunity to highlight my dear mum, Primrose George in whose memory we founded the Primrose Trust.

“We are honoured and privileged to have been the principal sponsors of CLAC in its very first year of what we hope will become a Christchurch annual event.

“CLAC has vastly exceeded our expectations and has raised nearly £20,000 for local charities.

“The evenings have been great fun, with really good and varied entertainment, and have been held at iconic Christchurch locations.”

View the full living advent calendar online through it’s dedicated website.