Sailors organise Helstonbury charity concerts
Royal Naval Air Engineering Petty Officer Paul Turton has such a strong passion for music that in his spare time he organises a music festival in Helston, at one of oldest Inns in Britain.
The Blue Anchor has seen many events over its 600 year history but for the past 13 has been the venue for “Helstonbury” - Cornwall’s own unique eclectic music festival close to Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose. Boasting several stages and over 40 bands across a busy three days, audiences cheered and applauded groups and solo performances that came from the surrounding and naval communities; mixing-it up with seasoned rockers and traditional favourites from the local music scene.
Fuelled by the Blue Anchors own renowned specially brewed beer - “Spingo”, supporters of the festival turned out in force for a weekend packed with some of the best live music in the South West.
Paul started the festival in 2001 as a fundraising party among friends and family helping a local schoolgirl Lizzie Gwilliam who suffers from a neurological disability buy a new wheelchair. Amazingly an overwhelming £1,700 was raised and Lizzie got her wheelchair. Now from humble beginnings it has become “Helstonbury” – one of the biggest events in the town's calendar.
This year’s event was a complete sell-out; there was even a third stage for special performances. Many Culdrose and Ex Navy personnel contribute to the cause, mostly playing in the live bands and groups. They included “Bobby’s Helmet”, “Riptide”, “Bone Shakin Babies” and “The Quarter Pounders”, as well as “The CuldRoses”, (RNAS Culdrose’s own Military Wives Choir.)
Hampered by bad weather the outdoor beer garden stage was affected by a heavy downpour, forcing “Bobby’s Helmet” (Paul’s band) to shut down on the main stage. However in true naval tradition the band and its equipment quickly moved inside and resumed after only 15 minutes, completing the show for Saturday evening.
“The event went brilliantly”, said Paul. “It’s like Helston's own party, where everyone meets up, has a drink and listens to music. It’s a lot of fun to organise and seeing all these live acts makes it all worth while. A massive thank you has to go out to all the bands and artists who came along to support the festival and also the staff and the Blue Anchor for hosting us again”.
Over 2000 people, young and old came through the historic doors of the Blue Anchor, helping Helstonbury raise over £4,500 for good causes around Helston. In the past the festival has helped the town’s brass band and budding musicians who cannot afford to buy instruments. But the good causes don’t just stop with music; local sport is benefiting from the festival and Helstonbury is due to sponsor Culdrose FC Youth football team during the 2013 - 14 season.