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Smile festival will remember popular member of Haverhill amateur dramatics group

Graham Nailor and Nigel Booth with Abbie Tosh who is organising a festival in memory of her brother Arran, pictured below
Graham Nailor and Nigel Booth with Abbie Tosh who is organising a festival in memory of her brother Arran, pictured below

A music festival is to be held in memory of Arran Tosh, a popular member of Haverhill amateur dramatics group The Centre Stage Company, who died days after discovering he had a brain tumour.

The Smile festival has been organised by Arran’s sister Abbie, who says she cannot wait to share Arran’s story and to see what they have achieved.

Arran Tosh, at age 13.
Arran Tosh, at age 13.

Already the festival, which shares its name with the Smile of Arran charity set up after Arran’s death, has sold out of its discounted early bird adult tickets, with Wagner from ITV’s X Factor announced as one of the headline acts.

Arran died aged 13 in 2014 just days after a brain tumour was discovered following an opticians’ appointment. He was known for his charity efforts and for his love of music, busking with his friends in Sudbury to raise money for the Cancer Research UK charity shop.

Now Abbie is determined to celebrate Arran by sharing his love for music.

Many of the festival acts have connections to Arran, including the first act to take to the stage, Toby Halls.

Toby was one of Arran’s band mates and he will be performing with his new band.

Alli Burke and the Bijoux Toots have supported the charity and will also perform, while Pat O’Neill will be travelling from Scotland to take part.

Pat gave Arran his first guitar and was instrumental in Arran taking up music.

“It’s going to be a very family and community orientated event, that’s what I want it to be about,” said Abbie, 21.

“I wanted to bring everyone together to have a lovely day to celebrate Arran. This is perfect as he loved music. What better way is there to share his memories and legacy.”

Another connection to Arran comes from the festival logo, which has been designed by Freya Belton, 11, from St Andrew’s Primary School in Great Yeldham, where Arran used to attend.

The school’s Oak class held a competition to create the logo, with the Year 6 pupil’s design chosen.

As well as a day full of music, there will be a number of stalls and games, as well as bouncy castles. Many of the games will be run by volunteers who have supported the charity since it was set up.

This year Abbie has taken a break from her studies, studying paediatric nursing at Glasgow Caledonian University.

“I left as it got to a point where I needed a break to deal with the loss of Arran and to let me get more involved in the charity, she said.

“It has done me a world of good. We have so many supporters who help out and organise so many different things each year. But we hope the festival will be a yearly thing that gets bigger and better.”

The Smile festival will take place on Saturday, July 22, at AFC Sudbury’s Wardale Williams Stadium in Brundon Lane, Sudbury. Gates will open from midday, with music from 1pm until 10.30pm. Tickets for adults are available for £21, with some early bird children’s tickets still available. Go to www.skiddle.com

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