Pub organises music festival each year in memory of customer

CHEERS Landlady Karen Hughes, front, with regulars, from left, Mandy Wilson, Iain Jacobson, Alan Dominey, Ruthy Martin and Nikki Martin.     Picture: Allan Hutchings (112000-746)
CHEERS Landlady Karen Hughes, front, with regulars, from left, Mandy Wilson, Iain Jacobson, Alan Dominey, Ruthy Martin and Nikki Martin. Picture: Allan Hutchings (112000-746)
Elm Grove. Picture: Google Maps

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Here’s a pub that truly gets behind its customers.

Punter Mandy Sharpe-Williams was a regular visitor to the Admiral Drake pub, Silverlock Close, Buckland.

Tragically Mandy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 and died three years later aged 44.

But inspired by her memory the pub organises a three-day music festival, which was started when Mandy was still alive.

Now in its fourth year, Drakefest lives on to fundraise for charities close to customer’s hearts.

Landlady Karen Hughes, 42, said: ‘The first festival was inspired by Mandy and we donated money to The Rowans Hospice and Cancer Care.

‘Each year it’s got bigger and bigger and we want to keep it as an annual event.

‘It’s become a part of the pub and its culture.

‘We give our time for free and it’s tiring, but worth it.’

A committee started organising the festival, which is taking place from Friday, July 1 to Sunday, July 3, in January.

This year 26 acts will be playing live music.

Alongside music, the festival will also have stalls, a face painting stand and a mods and rockers motorcycle ride.

Each year hundreds of motorcycles start off at the pub and head towards the seafront, starting from 11am on the Sunday.

Technician Elaine Potter will be painting faces at the festival.

She said: ‘Mandy was for the children and that’s why we have child-friendly activities like face painting.

‘Adults are also welcome to get their faces done too.’

This year money raised will be split between Macmillan Cancer Support, Breast Cancer Care, CLIC Sargent and the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.

The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation has been chosen as a pub regular’s young boy has recently had a liver transplant.

Long term customer Ken Abbott, a carpenter of Chewter Close, Southsea, has been drinking at the pub for two decades.

The 55-year-old said: ‘I have been coming here for 20 years because it’s a real, friendly pub.

‘I used to live in Stamshaw and it was my local then, but because I like it so much I still come back here after moving to Southsea.

‘I’m 55 now and I haven’t found a better pub than this.’

This year’s Drakefest is being streamed online.

To watch go to music-scene.biz