Regular readers will be more than familiar with Bandtastic, the Serenity In Cornwall fundraising event, working in association with Thinking Of Del - in aid of Carrick MIND and Cornwall Search and Rescue.
Not everyone is aware of the full story - so here goes...
Del Wilton, a good friend of mine was a champion fundraiser for Marie Curie in particular. His greatest achievement was to climb Kilimanjaro and raise a huge amount of money for charity.
In 2013, he left notes for his wife and his doctor, took a short drive to 300ft cliffs near his home in Cornwall, and jumped from them - unable to face life any longer after suffering from PTSD, depression, and workplace bullying. To say that he felt that his employer did not support him would be an understatement.
15 days of searching for him followed, then, on the evening of 1st September, under the vivid Cornish sunset shown below, Del was raised. For 15 days his wife Nel had dreaded the phone ringing. For 15 days she had dreaded a knock on the door. For 15 days she had to endure the sound of the Royal Navy Search and Rescue helicopter circling over head.
Lost without her sole mate, Nel knew not where to turn, no direction, filled with resentment and anger towards those who she felt let Del down and abandoned him. Eventually, when the time was right, we started doing some work to help her find some direction in her life. A key part of this direction, was to prevent other families from suffering as she did whilst the search went on.
Thinking of Del was created, to raise funds for Del's favourite charities, and Cornwall Search and Rescue Trust (who eventually found him). Over the last 3 years, Nel and her team have raised over £14,000 for those good causes, then came along our idea of Bandtastic.
By a twist of fate, having booked the Hall For Cornwall for another charity whose act was unable to make the date, rather than cancel the booking, together, Serenity and Thinking Of Del took the booking date on, and put together the rather audacious plan to bring together four of Cornwall's finest brass bands on one evening - each playing their own concert, and culminating with 120 musicians on stage for a grand finale.
Wednesday 24th May - Bandtastic is when we saw the tribute concert in aid of two great charities.
Over 800 people packed into the Hall For Cornwall, many travelling all day to be there, and raising over £12,000 for the two charities. Guest speakers from both CSART and MIND (the beneficiaries of the evening), along with Nel Wilton (Del's wife) speaking about her experiences took to the stage.
Each of the bands - Roche, St Austell, St Dennis and Camborne took to the stage in turn, before combining for a massed bands finale, featuring a specially commissioned tribute - possibly the most emotional point of the evening - a Band of Brothers indeed!
As well as the much needed funds being raised, awareness has been raised. In Cornwall, each week we are hearing of young people taking their lives, unable to cope with what life is throwing at them.
If only we can save one person, encourage them to seek out help, and relieve both them and their family from the anguish suffered, then this will have been nothing short of Bandtastic.
Del, it has been a privilege to do this in your memory, and Nel, it has been a delight to work with you.