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Charity Gig at Bishopstone

TEENAGERS Ellen Wray and Stephanie Hickton have been over-whelmed with the success of a charity band night they organised in between their exam revision.

The Ridgeway School friends, from Bishopstone, managed to raise more than £500 for their favourite charities by holding the gig featuring Ellen's brother's band Fazer.

This week the pair have begun their SATS tests at school so they had to organise the event, at Bishopstone Village Hall, around their revision, homework and household chores.

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Ellen Wray, left, and Stephanie Hickton, who arranged a band night to help two charities. In the back are members of Fazer, the band which played at the event. From the left: James Heffer, Stephen Wray and Louis Armstrong-Jones

Ellen, 13, said: "We had been talking about running a charity event and we came up with this crazy idea, but we needed a band and Fazer fitted the bill.

"We had to try to get the community hall and make sure as many people attended as possible. We were expecting to raise about £150 and get about 50 people in, but when we raised £500 and 80 turned up, we just couldn't believe it.

"It's only a small village but it was like every family seemed to turn up on the night."

Half of the money will go to Ellen's favourite charity, Swindon Therapy Centre for Multiple Sclerosis, in Cheney Manor, which is run by her mum, Jackie who was diagnosed with MS 18 years ago.

The event, on Saturday, was timed to tie in with the National MS Awareness week.

The other half of the money will go to Stephanie's chosen charity, the RNLI.

She selected the lifeboat charity in memory of one of the regulars at the True Heart pub in Bishopstone, which is run by her parents.

He was a fundraiser before he died. "He was a regular fundraiser for the RNLI," said Stephanie.

"He used to help me with my homework and school projects so I decided to raise money for it.

"Unfortunately I never got to tell him that I was going to do that before he died.

"It was a lot of organising, and we had to do that around our revision and homework.

"Considering we are two 14-year-olds, I think we managed to do pretty well."

Jackie said: "The girls have done so well putting together what was a fantastic event.

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"It seemed as if the entire village was there."

For Fazer, which features Ellen's brother Stephen, 13 and friends Louis Armstrong-Jones, and James Heffer, both 14, the night was a big success and people are already asking about their next band night.