Retired Army major plans 24-hour charity concert to give back to hospice

A retired Army major from Shropshire is hoping to raise vital funds for charity with a 24-hour musical extravaganza.

The Booth family
The Booth family

Guy Booth is organising the event to raise funds for Severn Hospice and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

His wife Kelly, 47, was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in February and has been receiving care from the hospice ever since.

Major Booth lives in Wem and was in the Army for more than three decades. He specialised in music.

Major Guy Booth

He joined the Welsh Guards as a saxophonist in 1985 and finally retired seven years ago after a 30-year career with the Corps of Army Music, with his last post as advisor to the Jordanian Royal Family on music and ceremonial matters.

Major Booth, who was also head chorister at St Chad’s Church in Shrewsbury, and his daughters Annabel and Imogen are putting the finishing touches to the round-the-clock event, which takes place on July 1 and 2 at Wem Scout Hut and will feature brass and wind bands, community choirs and even a pre-recorded musical segment from Henley Regatta.

On the Saturday late afternoon onwards his band The Lancashire Artillery Band will perform at the event.

They will be making a whistle-stop visit fresh from a performance at the National Arboretum and will stage a Last Night of the Proms special.

“A lot of my military musical friends have been in touch and said they want to take part,” said Major Booth. “They will be playing through the night and my daughters, who are also very musical, will be performing too. In fact, they will be fresh from the latest production of Matilda at Theatre Severn. The Wem Jubilee Band, which I have had links to for several years, will be performing between 8pm and 9pm on the Friday night.

“My father, Malcolm Booth did a huge amount of charity work for the hospice, and it is nice to carry that on.

“I never thought we would need the services of Severn Hospice, but Kelly was diagnosed with an incredibly aggressive form of motor neurone disease in February. She felt unwell late last year, with a strange tingling in her foot – now she is in a wheelchair and requires 24-hour care.

“The hospice has been amazing in their support and the outreach team and Dr Claire Stockdale have really been there for us. To be honest, I don’t know what we would do without them.

“We have gone from being a very outward-going family to one that is very insular.

Kelly with Imogen and Annabel.

“I wanted to do something that would get us back in to the community as a family and, at the same time, support the organisations which are helping us.

“I really have been overwhelmed with the response from my musical colleagues and from the Wem community.

“Lots of Wemians have been in touch to say they will be coming along and asking if they can also take part. We will be baking cakes with the help of the local Scout Troop, to sell on the day and to help keep people going throughout the event.”

The event starts at 7pm on July 1 and will run for 24 hours.

To support Guy and to make a donation go to donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/the-longest-music-jam-in-town.

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