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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Workington gets ready to Paint the Town Red

Sequins, stunt driving and stunning flavours from around the world all feature in a one day fundraising festival this weekend.

Hundreds of stalls, activities and events will fill Workington to raise money for Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

The Paint the Town Red festival returns to the town on Saturday after its success in 2008 to help Hospice at Home West Cumbria celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Strictly Come Dancing stars Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova will be performing a special routine – and offering some expert coaching for wannabe dancers.

Darren says: “We haven’t decided what numbers we are going to do but there will probably be a jive and a cha cha cha. A lot of it comes down to the size of where we are so sometimes we don’t decide until we are there.

“I am sure we will get a jive in because it is a good one to get everyone going and we will be teaching some salsa.

“We are looking forward to it. We do lots of shows all over the UK and it is always good to be involved in something very community based and for the whole area because we do a lot of private events.

“It is a great cause to raise money for and it will be a really exciting day.

“We are hoping to have a tour around all the different things that are happening and it would be quite nice to see all the parts of the festival.”

The performance, presented by our sister paper, the Times & Star, will take place at St Joseph’s School in Harrington Road.

The couple have taken part in six series of Strictly. Darren won the second series with EastEnders actress Jill Halfpenny, and Lilia won when she partnered ex-England cricketer Darren Gough in 2005.

Darren and Lilia will be brightening up the school’s hall with their sparkly costumes and energetic dance moves which are guaranteed to get the audience on their feet.

The audience will also get the chance to get up close and personal with the stars for a question and answer sessions and improve on their moves with some dance classes.

They will be signing autographs and posing for photos and if time allows it is hoped that they will visit the festival’s main stage to say hello to the crowds.

The event has been organised by a committee of volunteers with support from Rotary West Cumbria. Helen Irving, committee chairwoman, said: “Our advice to people attending would be to come early and stay all day – there’s so much to see and do during Paint the Town Red.

“Most activities are free or £1 and we urge everyone who attends to give whatever they can afford to help the hospice continue for another 25 years.

“We urge people to buy a programme for £1 – which has timetables and maps – beforehand so they can plan their day.”

For those who prefer fast cars and daring stunts to glitter and sequins stunt driver Russ Swift will return to the festival to wow the crowds with his driving skills.

The former international motor sport driver has established himself as the world’s number one precision driver with numerous TV commercials and car launches to his credit world-wide.

His recent TV appearances include teaching grannies to do do-nuts and playing five-a-side football on Top Gear and The Do-Nut world record on The Guinness World Record Show.

Crowds at the festival can expect an exciting live display with manoeuvres including the reverse spin, hand brake parking, parallel parking and two wheeling.

The event, sponsored by J Edgar and Sons of Workington, will be held in Vulcan Park.

Food from around the world and the best of local produce will be showcased at the festival with food and drink stalls and cookery demonstrations.

Cumbrian cookery champion Annette Gibbons will team up with Malaysian Rotarian Patricia Vytialingam for two “East Meets West” cookery demonstrations at the Emmanuel Church.

The pair will whip up treats combining the flavours and ingredients from their parts of the world including lime chicken with spring onions and fried rice and Malaysian beef rendang with bread made from a special blend of flour from Little Salkeld, near Penrith. Patricia says: “The wonderful thing about us coming together is that we are doing the same thing within our different cultures, trying to see where we can meet and having a lot of fun on the way.”

Annette, of Mawbray, adds: “We come from diverse cultures but the common thread is the love of food.”

Tickets for the demonstration are £2.50 and the audience will get to try each of the dishes made on the day. Places are limited so organisers recommend buying tickets in advance.

Cookery demonstrations will also come from Zest’s Ricky Andalcio and Thai chef Ooy Rigg and Cockermouth’s Nick Shill will host a wine tasting demonstration.

The main stage in Udale Street aims to create a real party atmosphere and get everyone in the festival spirit with performances from the Hoochie Coochie Moonshine Band, Committed 2 Rock, The Revolutionaires, Colt 45, Five and Dangerous and headliners Complete Madness.

A Youth Village will be set up in Vulcan Park organised by Positive Opportunities at the Weekend in Workington (POWW).

The emergency services, army, RAF and youth organisations are hosting a number of activities including paint balling, football cages, and a battle of the bands competition.

There will also be coaching from Workington Town Rugby League team, Seaton Athletics club and Workington Boys and Girls Club.

For those feeling a bit nostalgic, an exhibition of photographs from old Workington will be held in the Carnegie Theatre in Finkle Street.

The Times & Star’s Red Raw Talent Show will showcase local acts on stage at Curwen Park all day. People can also win great prizes in the Big Red Raffle, including Tesco vouchers, visits to M-Sport’s world rally headquarters at Dovenby Hall and holiday vouchers.

Helen adds: “It is going to be an excellent community event put on by the community for the community.

“The number of community groups we have got helping out is amazing.”

Limited tickets are still available for Darren and Lilia’s performance at £10 and the East Meets West cookery demonstration at £2.50 and can be bought from the Times & Star office in Oxford Street, Workington, and at the venue on the day, subject to availability.

Programmes are £1 and are available from most shops and businesses in Workington town centre.

For more information, go to www.paintthetownred2012.co.uk

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