Catfest in Milton Keynes raises a new record sum for cancer charity and a family friend facing illness

More than £45,000 has been raised for good causes at a family-run music festival.

Thursday, 13th September 2018, 6:30 pm
Updated Friday, 14th September 2018, 8:58 am

Julian and Cat O’Dell held their annual fundraising music festival Catfest on Bank Holiday Sunday in their garden at Hulcote.

A year of planning and hard work culminated in a brilliant day which raised a new record of £45,242 for charities Action Against Cancer and Dan’s Hope, and took total Catfest fundraising to over £110,000 over the past three years.

Julian and Cat have just been made ambassadors for Action Against Cancer, and Julian has won a BBC Three Counties Radio Fundraising Award which he will receive at a ceremony in Dunstable on September 26.


Julian said: “I’m not going to lie - there were several occasions on the day itself when I was an emotional wreck thanks to the weather doing its best to ruin all our efforts. But as a good pal of mine said ‘Nothing can dampen the spirit of Catfest.’ And Catfest did beat the elements where other events failed. Just!”

The O’Dells’ main chosen charity Action Against Cancer helps to fund cutting edge research which will ultimately save lives. Cat herself has been living with cancer for over eight years and recognises that research creates hope for victims of the disease. They are also proud to donate 10% of profits to Dan’s Hope, a charity set up in association with MDUK to find a cure for a rare form of muscular dystrophy. One sufferer is 9-year-old Dan McLellan, a friend of the O’Dells’ grandson Marley. It was Marley, also aged 9, who asked his grandparents to support Dan.

Julian said: “Catfest wouldn’t happen without the help of a number of special people including sponsors from the Milton Keynes business community Rightmove, Rimtec UK Ltd, Elevation Estate Agents and RGR Garages in Cranfield. Local businesses also supported Catfest by providing raffle prizes - The Swan in Salford, The Black Horse in Woburn, the Cherry Tree in Olney and Woburn Golf Club all contributed.”

An array of fabulous bands and singers provided dazzling entertainment over 11 hours - Straw Bear, Philippa Hanna, Gareth Nugent, The Brethryn, Poke, Fred’s House, Bootleg Blondie and The Alice Band all shone brightly enough to make up for the lack of sunshine.


The amazing total raised was boosted by some great auction lots including an England shirt signed by the 1966 World Cup squad, and holidays in France and Norfolk. A collection of Julian’s drawings of music stars fetched almost £2,500.

Julian added: “Cat and I cannot thank enough all those people who helped before, during and after Catfest, our range of suppliers, the bands, the sponsors, the attendees, anyone who bought raffle tickets, bid on auction lots, bought my pictures and so on. They should be proud of themselves for raising money for great causes. We are thrilled to have beaten last year’s record.

“Not having Catfest next year seemed sensible to give us and the garden a break, but when we see all the smiles on the day, read all the fabulous messages from those who attended and loved it, when we sit and calculate the massive amount of money we are passing to charity, we think to heck with it, let’s go again.

“We have sponsors confirmed already for next year but would welcome more, four acts confirmed but are open to offers and we need some riproaring auction lots. Any help is appreciated!”

If you would like to support Catfest 19 in any way, Julian can be reached on 07718 634235 or [email protected]