Charity comedy night

Performers Grace Petrie, Robin Ince, Mark Thomas and Billy Bragg with Mairi Wilson and Charlie Straker from CLIC Sargent Picture: CLIC Sargent

Household names from comedy and music came together for an event at New Wimbledon Theatre in aid of a children’s cancer charity and for a fellow comedian whose wife has been diagnosed with cancer.

The night was organised and hosted by comedian Robin Ince, and performers included Billy Bragg, Charlotte Church, Josie Long, Alexei Sayle, Mark Thomas, James Acaster, Daniel Kitson, Hollie McNish, Alistair Barrie, Chris Stokes and Grace Petrie.

The benefit event, which took place on October 23,  was set up after US comedian Barry Crimmins received the news that his wife Helen has Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

As treatment is costly, his fellow comedians have rallied round to raise funds for the couple – and to help other families through cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

The night was live-streamed to the US so both Barry and Helen could watch it at home.  CLIC Sargent volunteers  also held a bucket collection on the night, which raised £837.  Ince said: “Last week’s benefit was a celebration of life and of passion.

“Cancer affects so many people’s lives, we wanted to make sure this was upbeat, while not skirting around the issue of what it was about.

Fundraising at the show
CLIC Sargent

“It started with Daniel Kitson and ended with Billy Bragg, with so many vibrant performers in between.

“It was also great to connect with Helen and Barry by Skyping the whole of the show directly to their living room in Indiana.

“The backstage camaraderie extended into the audience and all the way across the Atlantic Ocean.”

Last year, CLIC Sargent supported 561 families in London, giving nearly 400 grants – worth more than £81,000 – to help families deal with the financial impact of cancer.
A recent cancer costs report from the charity revealed that families spend an extra £600 a month when undergoing treatment.

Charlie Straker, CLIC Sargent’s fundraising engagement manager, said: “Robin did an amazing job to put on such a special event. We can’t thank him and all the brilliant acts enough for using their talents to support CLIC Sargent.

“We were amazed by the generosity of everyone who came on the night and even had donations online from people who couldn’t make it.

“The funds raised will help CLIC Sargent give children, young people and their families the practical, emotional and financial support they need from the point of diagnosis.”

To find out more about CLIC Sargent’s work, or to donate, visit www.clicsargent.org.uk