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Festival raises thousands in memory of popular teenager

MaxOfest organisers

MaxOfest organisers

FAMILY and friends of local teenager Max Lewis recently enjoyed a festival created in his memory, and have raised over £10,000 for the road safety charity The Honest Truth.

An estimated 500 people attended the first ever ‘MaxOfest’ in Seend this month, a weekend held to remember Max, who was killed in a car crash on Forest Lane last year.

Max’s mum Niki Lewis said, “We are thrilled that so many people who loved Max wanted to support us and came along. Max’s family and friends wanted to hold a memorial event that would be right for him, so we decided on something that would be energetic, fun and have something for everyone to enjoy.

“The past three months were spent planning a mini-festival which culminated in our ‘MaxOfest’ last weekend.

“Despite the occasional downpour and rather spectacular storm, lots of people camped out and spent happy hours dancing and socialising.

“We have raised over £10,000 for our chosen charity, ‘The Honest Truth’, which works with young people to raise awareness  and promote safe driving.

“A senior police officer who also works for the charity attended and talked to over 60 young people about how they could improve their driving, and encouraged them all to  focus on improving one thing each – something we can all do!”

The festival was held near Max’s dad’s house in Seend and treated local people to live music, DJ sets,  the Melksham Choir, a hog roast, and a 5-a-side football tournament.

Max’s brother Daniel helped organise the weekend and was pleased with the turnout.

Daniel said, “I think the festival went as well as it possibly could have, considering not a single organiser had any experience of anything like this!

“The effort put in to learn and execute MaxOfest was a credit to every one of the guys involved. Their dedication and vision is what made it a success.

“We are also looking to have reached our £10,000 fundraising target. The Honest Truth have a fantastic message and set-up, which can hopefully be spread even further with this money.

“Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way, shape or form – it means so much to Max’s family and friends.”

Mum Niki echoed Daniel’s gratitude and said, “We are absolutely delighted that through the generosity of all the people involved and those who  came to support the event we have been able to raise so much money. We will now work with the charity to make sure we can get some really good work done with young people in Wiltshire.

“We would like to thank the local businesses that supported us, Wiltshire Council, and the neighbours for putting up with quite loud music! Thank you all so much.”

Ex-George Ward and Melksham Oak student Max Lewis died aged 19 in November 2014, when he was a passenger in a car that crashed on Forest Lane. Hundreds of people attended his funeral and his family have since helped to raise money and awareness for The Honest Truth.

The Honest Truth is a British charity that promotes safe driving in young people, in an attempt to reduce road fatalities in people aged 17-24.

For more information visit www.thehonesttruth.co.uk.