Emsworth to turn red for Comic Relief weekend

Ben Treagust from Harry's Sausages
Ben Treagust from Harry's Sausages
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From shopkeepers to firefighters, Elise Brewerton finds out how all in Emsworth are doing their bit to make the first Red Nose Town weekend full of laughs.

It’s a small seaside community that is about to make history when it becomes the first ever Red Nose town.

Elvis McGonagall

Elvis McGonagall

Emsworth is already turning a very bright shade of crimson as residents, businesses, pubs and even ducks prepare for Comic Relief weekend beginning Friday, March 13.

There will be sausages, cycling firefighters, silent films, fancy dress and Comic Relief goods made by schoolchildren.

It was the idea of WemsFest arts festival founder Mark Ringwood who cheekily asked Comic Relief if they could add a big red nose to the town and hold a weekend comedy fundraising event.

Mark said: ‘Much to my surprise I received an instant response which said that the charity had absolutely no objection provided we didn’t ask for any money.

From left,'f'irefighter Dave Dobrijevic, watch manager Perry Dodgson, firefighter Phil Lamb (on bike), crew manager Tom Davies and firefighter Ryan Grace

From left,'f'irefighter Dave Dobrijevic, watch manager Perry Dodgson, firefighter Phil Lamb (on bike), crew manager Tom Davies and firefighter Ryan Grace

‘Since then Emsworth Business Association (EBA) members have become active partners in the project, along with Havant Borough Council.

‘Initially the idea was to host a weekend of comedy but with the EBA’s assistance we’ve been able to expand the original idea and it’s really become a significant event.

‘It’s a bit like having a roast dinner, which is okay on its own, but is much better with all the trimmings.’

Sponsorship from Henry Adams estate agents has enabled four primary schools to have comedy workshops, and both Emsworth sailing clubs.

Mark added: ‘Perhaps most significant is the huge enthusiasm from the traders to want to actively take part and the general public have picked up on this.

‘When the large red noses start going up, on both buildings and buses, things will really take off.’

Three nights of comedy have been curated by local comedians Joe Wells and Jeff Lane, at the Crown Hotel, are almost sold-out.

Tickets are also selling fast for the fancy dress silent disco for adults and children which takes place on the Friday afternoon and evening in St. Peter’s Square against a three-storey high projection of a Keystone Cops film.

But there is still a lot to organise.

Assistance, from anyone with a sense of humour, is needed throughout the weekend.

Stewards are needed at The Crown Hotel comedy club each evening.

‘It’s not onerous’ said Mark, ‘It’s just a question of being helpful to the expected capacity audience of 50 per night.

‘So, people-friendly skills are more than useful.’

On the Sunday there will be a duck race on the watercourse between Westbourne and Emsworth.

Helpers are needed to prod free any ducks which might get stuck.

Mark adds: ‘Who knows, in years to come a popular quiz question could be where was the UK’s first ever Red Nose Town?’

If you would like to help email wemsfest@btinternet.com or emsworth.org.uk.


ENJOY top comedy from the likes of Matt Rees, Sam Savage and Pat Cahill.

Comedians will be performing at The Crown, in High Street, over the three nights.

But comic poet Elvis McGonagall is looking for somewhere to host his comedy supper on the Friday night.

Organiser Mark Ringwood said: ‘If you’ve got a big enough lounge or kitchen, would you like to consider having Elvis give a house show to do your bit for Comic Relief? You could get your friends to bring food and drink and charge a tenner or so for a ticket.’

The line-up has been put together by local comedians Joe Wells and Jeff Lanes.

Contact Mark at wemsfest@btinternet.com.

Red pedals

FIREFIGHTERS from Emsworth retained station are gearing up to ride more than 720 miles on a static spin bike for Comic Relief.

Dave Dobrijevic, Perry Dodgson, Phil Lamb, Tom Davies and Ryan Grace will cycle the equivalent of Emsworth to John O’Groats from the North Street station.

Watch manager Perry said: ‘We’ll be doing it in fancy dress which will make it even harder.

‘There are eight spin bikes and the public are welcome to join in to help us achieve our target or simply come along and support Comic Relief and the event. There will be a live link with participants at John O’Groats station.’ The event takes place between 10am and 4pm on the Saturday.

Meat treat

SAUSAGE maker Ben Treagust has spent weeks blending a secret recipe of herbs and spices to create the perfect Comic Relief banger.

Ben is the owner of Harry’s Sausages which are free from artificial additives, preservatives and gluten.

He will be selling his specially-made bright red tomato basil hot dogs outside his family shop Treagust Butchers during the Hampshire Farmers’ Market on the Saturday.

Ben, 29, said: ‘I think I’ll be using beetroot powder to make them as red as possible. There is a real buzz around Emsworth because everyone is so excited about Red Nose weekend and coming up with lots of ideas to make it extra special.’

A contribution from the sale of the sausages goes to Comic Relief.

Coin trail

FROM 11am on Sunday the most will be made of the Mill Pond that Emsworth is famous for.

Hard cash is needed to make a chain of coins linking Emsworth Sailing Club to Slipper Sailing Club along the Millpond wall.

All the coins laid down will go to Comic Relief.

From midday the duck race starts on the River Ems in Commonside, Westbourne.

Ducks from shops, pubs and clubs will race across the river and onto the Millpond.

The winner will walk away with a magnum of champagne or an equivalent prize for a child.

Also on Sunday Fat Olives, restaurant is hosting a fun cookery workshop.

The event sold out within days of being announced by the restaurant.

Silent disco

ONE of the hottest tickets of the weekend is the silent disco on Friday night.

From 6pm until 7pm youngsters can enjoy the fun in St Peter’s Square.

And from 7pm it is the adults’ turn to dress up as fishermen or superheroes and put on the headphones to dance the night away.

Tickets for the event are selling fast.

Alistair Gibson is keeping his costume under wraps until the night but said: ‘This is another fantastic example of the Emsworth community – from schools to firefighters – coming together to enjoy themselves for a wonderful cause.’

Buy wristbands from Harbour Records, High Street.

Businesses joining in

BUSINESSES across the town have thrown their support behind Red Nose weekend.

Chantelle and Pete Williams, the owner of Sarah C, the only commercial fishing boat in Emsworth, will be popping a red nose on the boat.

Shops have changed their names to include Red including Fat Olives which is to be known as Red Olives for the next 10 days.

The Courtyard Cafe is now the Red House Cafe.

There will be a fashion show on Friday at Emsworth Yacht Harbour and a food bank collection outside The Co-op.

The film What We Did On Our Holidays is showing at Emsworth Community Centre.

Surprises brewing

THE specially-brewed Blue Nose Comic Relief ale is one of the only things not to get a new red name.

And that’s because Giles Babb, the owner of The Bluebell Inn, is such a huge Pompey fan.

The pub will be selling the brew over the Comic Relief weekend.

Brewer Malcolm Irving said: ‘Even though it’s called Blue Nose it is a nice ruby red colour with a lovely deep fruity flavour.

‘There are blackcurrants and a lovely roast malt flavour too.’

The ale is on sale for March and 50p a pint will go to Comic Relief.

The pump clip was designed by Ian Gregory who said: ‘With Giles being such a devout Pompey fan we had to give the swans a blue nose.’