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Shrewsbury music event has special meaning for event organiser

The organiser of a Shrewsbury music festival taking place this weekend says he is determined to highlight the fantastic work of NHS staff who helped his family when his son was born prematurely.

Organiser Jamie Smith with his nine-month old son, Reuben, who was born 10 weeks premature
Organiser Jamie Smith with his nine-month old son, Reuben, who was born 10 weeks premature

Jamie Smith has organised Loopfest, which will take place on Saturday at 17 venues throughout Shrewsbury.

It will feature more than 80 acts and 200 performers and will be fundraising for Severn Hospice and the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Neonatal Department.

The hospital supported Jamie and his partner Juliet when their son Reuben, now nine months old, was born 10 weeks early last December.

Jamie said: "We never thought we would be in the situation we were but once we found ourselves in this situation with Reuben, we witnessed first hand the work of some amazing people.

"We met lots of friendly, caring and supportive staff who were working in a high-pressure environment."

Tess Kirk, co-owner of In Good Hands Cafe, and organiser Jamie Smith

"Reuben is thriving now and we put that down to the great care and support we received in the neo-natal department.

"So Loopfest is a way of raising money to say thank you to them and also raise funds for Severn Hospice.

"We want to make this an annual event and help local charities each year as well as helping to bring more footfall into the town centre."

Loopfest will be held at Albert & Co Frankville, The Bulls Head, St. Mary's Church, Albert's Shed, In Good Hands Cafe (Frankwell), The Salopian Bar, The Castle Vaults, Tubeway Records, Shrewsbury Unitarian Church, The King's Head, Music Bros, The Hive, The Old Post Office, Wheatsheaf, The Yorkshire House, Ashley's Bar and the Bull Inn Butchers Row.

Music starts from midday and will continue into the evening. To find out more, visit loopfest.co.uk

Jamie Smith with son, Reuben

Jamie also reflected on the passing of Her Majesty The Queen as he prepared for the event and said: "Throughout her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has championed creativity and made the arts accessible to all.

"We share those same principles and this is why we're running a free festival with events happening throughout the town.

"We were very keen to get shops, churches, and community centres involved because they're open to people of all ages. Interactivity and community engagement plays a large part in what we're doing with Loopfest, and we also hope to raise lots of money for charity at this event.

"I'm fairly sure that Her Majesty would be disappointed if we didn't make it happen. We're unifying a community and that's exactly what our longest-serving monarch did so well."

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