£100,000 jackpot hits the right note

City Hall concert: Keith Roe has raised more than �100,000 thanks to events over the years.
City Hall concert: Keith Roe has raised more than �100,000 thanks to events over the years.
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WHEN Keith Roe set himself a target of fundraising to the tune of £100,000 he admits it was a ‘tall order’.

But now that dream of 26 years ago has come true - thanks to the magic of music.

Thousands watched a Sheffield cavalcade celebrating the milestone achievement, the many charities it has boosted and the joy it has shared.

Retired teacher Keith, aged 57, revealed he ‘never thought’ he would reach his goal.

He said: “Of course I can sit here and feel very proud of what I’ve achieved.

“But it has been a massive effort of talented people, and funding the whole thing is the audience coming to the concert year after year.

“We could have performed in an empty room, it would have been as good but not done as much good.”

The death of Keith’s father Robert Roe, 58, of a heart attack led to the Fellowship Theatre Company’s first performance, in a university drama studio, raising £223 for heart research.

Music scene stalwart Keith, of Sheffield, said: “I thought the best way out of this is by doing things for other people, that’s true of a lot of people who get themselves out of a dark place.

“It’s all about sharing a love of music to help others.

“I set myself the target back in 1985 and that seemed a very tall order.”

The concerts grew, becoming the popular Christmas Musical Cavalcade at Sheffield City Hall. Now they sell out, combining opera and West End hits with chart-toppers and favourites. Talented musicians come together for one day and dozens of causes have benefited from the £100,000 raised.

Fellowship founder and musical director Keith insists there are hundreds to thank - the most special being his mum Margaret Roe.

She played double bass in the 1940s Ivy Benson All Girls Band and, despite a motherly worry that tickets wouldn’t sell, has been behind Keith all the way.

Margaret, 86, said: “People come to every concert and straight after want the date for the next one, I know them by name.

“Keith puts so much into this. He can spend nine days writing an arrangement to be performed in three minutes.”

The last concert beneficiary was Sheffield Hospital Trust’s Heart Research Programme.

There is no new target but as the shows play on, £200,000 could prove to be in reach.

Keith said: “As long as there’s an audience and we’re fit and healthy who knows what will happen?”