Olly’s free spirit lives on at Bosham music festival

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Olly Douglas’ spirit lives on this weekend at a mini-musical festival organised in his memory.

Bosham Rox offers a day of music on Saturday, September 26 in support of Mind, the mental health charity which offered great support to Chichester-based Olly during his illness.

Catherine and Lem

Catherine and Lem

Olly’s mum Catherine said: “I want the event to be a tribute and a message, not just to the family but to all his friends and colleagues... a message that Olly’s spirit is free, that he doesn’t have to battle any more and that as far as I am concerned, he is on his journey. A lot of people have been suffering, but Olly is still here and he would be so proud of what is happening.”

Olly took his own life in March this year at the age of 27.

“So many people in Chichester knew Olly. He was kind. He was into lots of sport as a young man. He loved his music, and he loved to write. He studied journalism. He seems to leave a real lasting impression on everyone. If Oliver touched you, he left a deep impression on you.

“But sadly he had struggled for some time with mental-health problems. In the end, he couldn’t battle any more.

“In a way, I think his friends were more shocked than I was. I have had them come round in total shock. He didn’t want anyone else to know. When he was good, he was terrific. He could give the impression everything was ok, but he was always battling all the time with his illness.”

Bosham Rox is being organised by Lem Parker, a close friend of Catherine’s. Lem will be performing with her band Lem and the White Fire, and for Saturday, she is writing a new song using Olly’s poetry as the lyrics.

“His poetry is very clever,” Lem said. “He didn’t write in the usual way. I am looking forward to writing the song.”

Lem is delighted at the programme which has come together: “Being a local girl I wanted to celebrate with my home village, the local community of Bosham and a sample of the talent the south of England has to offer. As a musician and songwriter, I am thrilled to be part of this amazing all-day mini festival.

“Linda and her staff at the Berkeley Arms have generously agreed to host the festival in the heart of the picturesque harbour village of Bosham. Bosham Rox mini-festival is a family-friendly event with free admittance for accompanied children. The festival will incorporate extraordinary musical talent from many genres including calypso to dub reggae beats, soul to punk, bands to solo artists, appealing to a wide range of tastes and audiences. The fun also includes comedians, jugglers, dancers and face painters to thrill and entertain throughout the day.”

Line-up: Funky Junction, Leader, Spy from Moscow, Lem and the White Fire, The Wrong’uns, Ruby Tiger, Dan the Hat (magician/juggler), Tim Cheatle, Bamboo Band and belly dancing with The Spirits of Ishtar.

Lem added: “We are supporting West Sussex Mind charity. One in three people suffer form mental health problems. We just wanted to raise awareness, and we had such a brilliant response (from performers). We had about 200 applicants from people wanting to play which was amazing because this is the first festival we have put together.”

Lem is already hoping to expand the event in future years. The music starts at midday. Admission £10; children up to 12 free.

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