Comedy festival to celebrate Red Nose Emsworth honour

Organiser Mark Ringwood
Organiser Mark Ringwood
James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

Those halcyon days when pen and paper just worked!

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IT IS already known as a the foodie capital of the south and now it has been named the UK’s first Red Nose town.

The international aid charity Comic Relief has bestowed the title on Emsworth after the organiser of an arts festival asked for the moniker.

Mark Ringwood is the founder WemsFest, an arts festival straddling Emsworth and Westbourne.

He contacted the charity after coming up with the idea of having a weekend dedicated to making people laugh and raising money.

He has now joined Emsworth Business Association to put the plans in action to become the first, and only, Red Nose Town.

Mr Ringwood said: ‘A year ago we looked at the calendar and saw that there was very little happening in Emsworth during March and thought there was no harm in making a pitch to take on the title as it would bring some life and colour to the community as well as hopefully raise money for good causes.

‘The only proviso to using the title was that we didn’t ask Comic Relief for any money.

‘As a result we’re also working with comedians Joe Wells, and Jeff Lane, who programme comedy for WemsFest, and we intend to have a three day festival of comedy from March 13 until 15.

‘The Crown Hotel have already been extremely supportive in giving us free performance space and we hope to add at least two more venues.

‘We’d like to add a week-long series of workshops in schools and retirement homes but that will depend on a sponsor coming forward.

‘It’s going to be fantastic kudos for the town.’

Comic Relief raises millions of pounds for many different charities – but particularly ones in Africa.

Emsworth’s Food Fortnight brought national recognition to the town when it was announced that it had won the prized Bring Home the Harvest Award for its efforts.