Red Arrows boost for charities

PUBLISHED: 17:38 30 July 2007 | UPDATED: 20:07 01 June 2010

Rob enjoys the Red Arrows display

Rob enjoys the Red Arrows display

BY Maggie Gibson IT will be remembered by Kate and Rob Blake for the rest of their lives. It was the day villagers turned out in an unprecedented show of support. What began as a small charity event which would also cheer up seriously ill Rob, snowballed

BY Maggie Gibson

IT will be remembered by Kate and Rob Blake for the rest of their lives. It was the day villagers turned out in an unprecedented show of support.

What began as a small charity event which would also cheer up seriously ill Rob, snowballed into a unique occasion complete with the internationally famous Red Arrows.

Crowds dug deep into their pockets and raised at least £1,000 each for three charities close to the hearts of the Upwell couple.

Mrs Blake said: "We are still on a high, we cannot believe it. The kindness of people has been amazing. The villagers of Upwell and Outwell should feel very proud of themselves.

"Physically Rob is getting worse every day, it was a tremendous effort for him but it was unbelievable."

Mr Blake said: "I am absolutely exhausted but it has been such a fantastic journey. There were some very moving moments and I had a few tears."

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight was also due to make an appearance but it was grounded shortly before the event. Mrs Blake said: "A big thank-you to the RAF, they scrambled a couple of fighters so people would not be too disappointed."

There were stalls and entertainment on the field and in the evening an auction raised £1,600. The charities benefiting from the event are the Red Arrows Trust and the Police and Fire Benevolent Funds.

Mrs Blake is hoping to boost the takings for the charities even further by selling her husband's story to national magazines.

A former fire-fighter, paramedic and special constable, Mr Blake believes his illness was contracted during his work as a fireman in the oil industry.

The couple have been bowled over by the support of villagers since moving to Upwell. They also wanted the day to be a thank-you to them for the warm welcome.

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