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Newbury volunteer fair is a Wicked, Technicolor success

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FROM Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to Phantom of the Opera and Cats, stallholders at this year's volunteer recruitment fair pulled out all the stops to embrace the West End musicals theme.
Organised by the Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, the annual event provides a platform for local groups, charities and organisations, which this year included Guide Dogs, Newbury Rotary Club and the Bus of Hope, the array of volunteer roles on offer.
The event ran from 10am till 3pm at the Corn Exchange Newbury, and volunteer centre director Garry Poulson said he was pleased with the enthusiasm of all those attended, from stallholders to the public alike.
"People love it," he said. "The charities say they get good quality enquiries and that's what we really want."
It was the first time that the volunteer centre's new scheme VCme, which aims to help people with mental illness to get into volunteering roles, had had the opportunity to broadcast its opportunities so publicly.
Speaking to the NewburyToday team, project co-ordinator Jacqui Letsome said: "Some people had heard about the project and had come specifically today to find out about it.
"Everybody we have spoken to has said it's a very worthwhile project and much needed."
Winning the best dressed stall, and a £100 cheque from the Newbury Weekly News and NewburyToday, was the Friends of Newtown Road Cemetery.
Pictured is the group's chairman, Brian Sylvester, with the prize.
"We are absolutely overwhelmed," he said, adding that they had chosen Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for a particular reason.
"We thought it was a wonderful idea to have lots of colour," he said. "Normally, people associate cemeteries with dullness, but we have got this wonderful chapel with this magnificent stained-glass window."
The artwork for the stand was created by local artist Isabel Carmona-Andrev and proved a successful way to attract people to two of the key volunteering roles on offer, public relations and a school's liaison committee.
For a full report on the fair, pick up a copy of Thursday's Newbury Weekly News.

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