Fury after charity event for Lola-Mai is cancelled at last minute

Taff Evans, left, and Kevin Thorpe with members of car clubs who got together to raise money for Lola-Mai Burns from Havant, after the event was moved from Tesco in Portsmouth at the last minute  Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160571-03)
Taff Evans, left, and Kevin Thorpe with members of car clubs who got together to raise money for Lola-Mai Burns from Havant, after the event was moved from Tesco in Portsmouth at the last minute Picture: Ian Hargreaves (160571-03)

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  • Organiser says Tesco agreed to event
  • But store says nothing had been confirmed
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FUNDRAISERS were left dismayed after a supermarket did not allow a charity event to take place in its car park.

Taff Evans and Kevin Thorpe spent two months organising a fundraiser to help Lola-Mai Burns, a two-year-old girl from Havant with cancer.

Lola-Mai Burns, from Havant, who is undergoing treatment for kidney cancer at Southampton General Hospital

Lola-Mai Burns, from Havant, who is undergoing treatment for kidney cancer at Southampton General Hospital

Companies from as far as Kent and Essex were due to meet up in the car park at Tesco North Harbour for the Sunday evening event, which was to include Daltons Trucks, promo girls, a bouncy castle, scooters and a rodeo bull.

Mr Evans claims staff in store gave the all-clear to the event, as well as Tesco’s head office.

However, the day before the event, Mr Evans said he was shocked when the manager of the supermarket telephoned him to say she had not been made aware of the event, which was due to take place on April 3.

Tesco has since submitted a statement to The News, saying that no member of senior management knew about the plan.

The event was hoped to raise more than £1,000 for Lola-Mai. In the end, about 90 vehicles rolled up to Tesco in Havant and raised £105.

Mr Evans, 47, who works in security, from Southsea, said: ‘I was devastated. Head office had said they were happy for us to go ahead with it. But when I went back to the store, they said it was their decision. All of the hard work went out of the window.

‘There were so many angry people. The phone was going non-stop.’

Mr Evans says he spoke to Tesco’s head office on three occasions to get confirmation.

He added: ‘I have been running car events for a long time. I have done everything Tesco asked of me.’

A spokeswoman for Tesco said: ‘We were concerned to hear about this.

‘Though our investigations so far indicate that no-one in the senior management team at store was aware of the event, we will continue to look into it.

‘We have a proud history of supporting the local community in Portsmouth, from raising money for charities such as the British Heart Foundation through to supporting other local good causes. As such, we will reach out to Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra and Southampton Hospitals to see how else we can support.’

Mr Evans said now plans to hold the event at Asda in Bedhampton at a future date.