New music festival coming to Fakenham inspired by brave schoolgirl

Craig Lewis and his daughter Jasmine

Craig Lewis and his daughter Jasmine - Credit: Archant

A brave Fakenham schoolgirl is the inspiration for a new music festival which will raise money towards finding a cure for an extremely rare and potentially life-threatening disease.

Eight-year-old Jasmine Lewis was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis six years ago.

She is one of only 11 known sufferers of the disease in the UK.

Her father Craig Lewis is organising Rock 4 Jasmine 2013 with friends and family members.

At least 13 bands will perform at Fakenham Town Football Club, in Clipbush Lane, on August 3.

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Mr Lewis aims to raise at least £10,000 for the paediatric rheumatology department of the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Jasmine, a Fakenham Junior School pupil, is treated there every fortnight and also at Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London every three months.

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Mr Lewis said: 'I want to raise money towards research into finding a cure for the disease and also to do something for the people who have helped to keep Jasmine alive.

'I hope the festival also raises awareness of Juvenile Dermatomyositis. So little is known about it. It took the doctors eight months to find out what was wrong with Jasmine.'

The disease, known as JDM, is where the immune system can attack the body rather than protect it.

It causes muscle pain and weakness, can cause rashes and sometimes causes a change in the sound in the voice of the sufferer.

Mr Lewis said: 'When Jasmine was first diagnosed with JDM, I was told that I should enjoy the rest of the time I have with her.

'This was an absolutely awful thing to hear and I believed that she might not have much time left. But she is still here six years later.

'I don't know what the future holds but Jasmine is doing really well at the moment.

'She doesn't know life any other way. She is so nonchalant about it all and she just gets on with things and doesn't complain.'

Mr Lewis's own band Liberty Gene will headline the festival and other well-known bands in the area, including Straight Atom and Mangol Head, will perform.

Mr Lewis, who runs Cromwell Barn Health and Fitness Centre in Fakenham, said: 'When I first thought about doing something I thought we'd end up doing a small gig with a couple of bands at the community centre and raise about £200.

'Then I just thought why not see how big I can make this? I hope this festival will become an annual event.

'There has been so much enthusiasm about it. A small team of volunteers is working really hard to bring it all together and several businesses and organisations, including Tesco and Kick Start Fakenham, have come forward to offer sponsorship.

'Jasmine is buzzing about it. She loves watching my band rehearse and she is learning to play the guitar herself.

'She thinks the fact that she is now going to have a music festival named after her is absolutely fantastic.'

As well as the music there will be lots of children's activities and the festival will be a family-friendly event.

It will be on from about 10.30am until midnight.

Tickets are set to go on sale in the next few days. They are £8 for adults, £5 for under-18s and free for under-5s. A family ticket, for two adults and two children, is £20.

Tickets will be available from Cromwell Barn Health and Fitness Centre, next to Tesco in Fakenham, and Sweets 'n' Things in Oak Street, Fakenham.

Mr Lewis is also looking for more festival sponsors to help cover costs.

Anyone interested can visit him at Cromwell Barn Health and Fitness Centre or call him on 01328 855744 or 07952 280632.

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