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KOFMA voted huge success despite theft of takings by hooded thief

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Kensington Olympia Festival of Music and the Arts

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The first Kensington Olympia Festival of Music and the Arts has been voted a great success - despite the theft of hundreds of pounds by a hooded thief.

The theft happened during a concert by the Nell trio at the festival's venue, St. Matthew’s Kensington Olympia.

The trio had only just begun playing works from Brahms and Mendelssohn when the thief stole into the church and snatched the evening's takings, which amount to well over £400 pounds.

He was chased but quickly made his escape on a cycle down Sinclair Road.

Jinnie Moriarty, one of the Festival organisers, was left in tears after chasing him with her brother Jonathan.

However, hearing from Festival supporter Annabel Wood about the theft the community came to the rescue, contributing without hesitation and giving more than the amount that had been stolen.

" The generosity of our friends and neighbours is astounding,’ said Jinnie. " I cannot thank them enough. I almost cried all over again!"

The week’s Festival was the first of what organisers hope will become an annual event, with audiences exceeding expectation almost every evening.

The inaugural concert, Bach’s Mass in B minor by the Oxford Spezzati Soloists and Orchestra, filled the beautiful church of St. Matthew’s.

Other highlights included Songs from the Shows by Duncan Day and Friends, choral music by the Erebus Ensemble and a come-and-sing closing concert featuring Gabriel Faure’s Requiem beautifully sung by over 100 performers under the direction of conductor Jeremy Summerly.

There were historical and architectural walks, a literary talk, a concert by pupils of Addison Primary School all accompanied by art exhibitions in the church and at the nearby Masbro Centre.

Two festival masses bookended the week including the final mass led by the Bishop of Fulham, The Rt. Rev. Jonathan Baker, and parish priest, Father Huw Chiplin.

Festival director Denis Moriarty says that despite the theft, the week had exceeded all expectations. " We have been amazed by the numbers of people who supported our concerts and other events. It shows there is a huge thirst for music and the arts in W14 and we hope to continue.

" It’s too early to say if we made a financial success," said Denis, " but with the continued support of local businesses and friends we have high hopes to make it an annual event.’

For information about all the events during the festival, visit the website.

September 25, 2015