Local musical talent on show at ‘feelgood’ Swanage concert

Despite predictions of rain, the sun shone on the Music by the Sea concert in Swanage in memory of Will and Henry, two local lads who died tragically young.

This was the second Music by the Sea concert organised by Swanage residents Vicki and Jonathan Searle in honour of their son Henry, who sadly lost his battle with a brain tumour in 2021. Funds raised will go to #Willdoes, a charity dedicated to the memory of William Paddy, whose life ended at the early age of 14.

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Galaxy Thief at Music by the sea concert

Galaxy Thief on stage

Show stopping talent

Local musical talent lined up to entertain the crowd at Prince Albert Gardens including Laura and Emma Fidler, Gary Deamer, Karen Grant, Aberama Gold, as well as Henry’s father Jonathan and brother Oliver.

Providing the finale was the show stopping talent of local band Galaxy Thief who wowed the crowd with their energetic rendition of popular covers and their own original songs.

Music by the sea concert
Emma and Laura Fidler at Music by the sea concert

Laura and Emma Fidler take their turn to perform

“Henry loved music”

It was Galaxy Thief who first gave Vicki Searle the inspiration to put on a concert at Prince Albert Gardens. She said:

“I remember coming to Prince Albert Gardens with Henry – we sat here and saw a performance by Galaxy Thief. Henry loved music and I thought holding a concert to remember him would be appropriate.

“Last year I approached the band and they said they would not only play but also help stage the concert, which was great.

“The concert in September 2021 raised £9,500 and we gave some of the money to the Save the Ambulance Car campaign, as the ambulance car had been so crucial in helping Henry on many occasions.”

Vicki and Jonathan Searle at Music by the sea concert

Vicki and Jonathan Searle by Henry’s tree that was planted in his memory in 2021

Ambulance car campaign at Music by the sea concert

Councillor Debby Monkhouse from the Save the Ambulance Car campaign thanked the audience and said she believed it was the extent and persistence of the community’s determination that saved the ambulance car

Raised funds last year for the ambulance car campaign

The funds raised at last year’s event for the ambulance car campaign helped revamp its website and to consider legal action. Since then, NHS Dorset has agreed for the ambulance car to remain based in Swanage and to be fully staffed from September 2022.

Money also went to #Willdoes which helps young people who are finding life tough and struggling to cope with daily life, and the cancer charity Cancare. This year the funds will be split between #Willdoes and Cancare. Vicki added:

“Cancare really helped us. When Henry was ill, we got to a point when we were really traumatised and had no money left as we’d sold everything we could to pay for his treatment.

“We were desperate and then staff at the doctors surgery suggested we approach Cancare for help. At the time, I’d never heard of them but as well as supporting us, they funded some of Henry’s treatment, which was a lifeline.”

Cancare at Music by the sea concert

The Cancare team organised a raffle

“We help people in different ways as their needs differ”

The Swanage branch of Cancare was set up 33 years ago to help support anyone living with cancer and their families.

Vikki Fooks, one of its founding members and now treasurer said:

“It all started when I had cancer and also my friend Gillian – we wanted to do some fundraising so held a coffee morning and then it was a question of how best to use the money. We then found out about Cancare, set up our local branch and it’s all gone from there.

“We help people in different ways as their needs differ but it may be organising transport to hospital or helping support families. We ask how we can best help and then try to provide what’s needed. As a charity everything is privately funded and all the money goes directly to fund services.”

Willdoes found Lesley Paddy at Music by the sea concert

#Willdoes founder Lesley Paddy

“It’s been a great day”

Lesley Paddy, the mother of William and the founder of #Willdoes was at the concert helping with handing out the £10 wristbands to people on arrival. She said:

“I’m very grateful to Vicki and Jonathan Searle for choosing to donate half the money raised to #Willdoes. It’s been a great day and we’re all very thankful that the rain stayed away!”

Music by the sea concert
Galaxy Thief at Music by the sea concert

Galaxy Thief backstage with a sea view – Left to right: Jake Trim, Rhys Messenger, George Bowerman and Ben Watton

“People in Swanage really care”

Swanage-based Galaxy Thief, which has undergone several reincarnations since it first started, describes itself as a four piece indie pop band.

The band’s latest single Reason was released in July 2022 and there’s plans to release more over the next few months. While waiting to go on stage, lead vocalist Rhys Messenger said:

“We didn’t know whether it was going to rain or not, so in the end we cabled up the stage quite late and then had to get it done quickly – fortunately we’re quite good at that and now the sun is shining!

“It’s a really nice, feel good atmosphere here with lots of local people who all know each other. So many people have turned out, to either take part or come along to watch – it shows that people in Swanage really care.”

Watch Galaxy Thief

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