Rotary Rocks 2024: singers and dancers to raise hospice funds in memory of West Sussex musician and Rok Skool founder Hereward Kaye

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A spectacular day of music and dance is returning to Haywards Heath this summer to raise funds for St Peter & St James Hospice.

The Rotary Club of Cuckfield, Lindfield and Haywards Heath has teamed up with the family of the late Hereward Kaye (of Flying Pickets fame) to produce Rotary Rocks 2024 at The Orchards shopping centre.

The Orchards, who are sponsoring the event on Saturday, June 22, are also providing a Magician, UK Gladiators and street games.

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Rotary Rocks 2024 will be in memory of Hereward Kaye who passed away in October 2023.

Haywards Heath Rotary Rocks event at the Orchards Shopping Centre 2023. Photograph by Steve RobardsHaywards Heath Rotary Rocks event at the Orchards Shopping Centre 2023. Photograph by Steve Robards
Haywards Heath Rotary Rocks event at the Orchards Shopping Centre 2023. Photograph by Steve Robards

Organiser Mike Oliver (Mike Oliver Associates) from the Rotary club said: “I knew Hereward Kaye very well.”

He said Hereward was ‘an amazing, positive ambassador for the arts’ and ‘a pillar of the community’.

The first Rotary Rocks was a hit last year, raising over £3,000 for Rotary charities. This year there will be 13 different performances from 10am to 5pm, as well as a Grand Prize Draw with five prizes to win worth more than £500 in total.

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Haywards Heath Rotary Rocks event at the Orchards Shopping Centre 2023. Photograph by Steve RobardsHaywards Heath Rotary Rocks event at the Orchards Shopping Centre 2023. Photograph by Steve Robards
Haywards Heath Rotary Rocks event at the Orchards Shopping Centre 2023. Photograph by Steve Robards

The line-up is: The Pickettes acapella group (10.10am), Alegra Spanish Dancing (10.30am), Consilience (11.10am), Tobias (11.40am), Marco The Magician (12.05pm), Cylvian (12.25pm), Sussex Show Dancers (12.45pm), Cylvian as Tina Turner (1.15pm), Rory Indiana Kaye – a Hereward Kaye band (1.40pm), Phony Walkman ('80s Rock with Sussex Show Dancers, Schrapnel (rock band), guitarist/ comedian Ant Macari (3.40pm), Carey School of Irish Dancing (4pm) and acapello group No Strings Attached (4.20pm). Several of the acts are from Rok Skool.

Haywards Heath Mayor Stephanie Inglesfield will open the event at 10am with appeals for St Peter & St James Hospice at 12pm and 1.35pm.

Hereward, who lived in Lindfield with his wife Pat, ran the Rok Skool in Haywards Heath with his son Leon. He was well known for his successful musical career, having toured the world with The Flying Pickets for 14 years and having written the West End musical Moby Dick, produced by Sir Cameron Mackintosh. He was also Rick Wakeman’s lead vocalist and sang on the album Cost of Living. Hereward founded Rok Skool in Haywards Heath in 2006, forming bands, running choirs and putting on shows in the community.

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Mike Oliver said he wants to support St Peter & St James Hospice because Hereward spent his last weeks there. He thanked everyone who is helping this year, including sponsors and volunteers, as well as everyone from the hospice who will be there and the acts who are performing for free. He said hopes Rotary Rocks will eventually pull in people from beyond Haywards Heath to raise more money, adding that Rotary raises more than £25,000 a year for local charities.

Mike is performing on the day in his band Phony Walkman and is looking forward to seeing all the great talent on display.

“The first Rotary Rocks last year was a great start,” he said. “Over time we’re rather hopeful the event will go from strength to strength, getting bigger and better.”

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