Choirs, cakes and clogdancers will be at Boots in Swansea’s busy Quadrant Shopping Centre to celebrate the 120th anniversary of Britain’s best-known chemist opening its first store in Wales in the city.
It’s a milestone event and Boots are marking it with a special Wales-wide Children in Need fund-raiser but the epicentre is in Swansea.
There they are pulling out all the stops for one of the nation’s favourite charity events on Tuesday and they have showcased a special music project run by Swansea YMCA for disadvantaged young people.
Joining in will be Sketty band Bandicoot, formed by young people as part of the YMCA project which has been funded by a grant from Children in Need.
Boots, which began in Nottingham in 1849 opened its first store in Wales in 1896 in Oxford Street, Swansea, and Kelly Smith, Boots Swansea Beauty Manager, said: “We’re pulling out all the stops for Children In Need and we’ve got so much on in store with special advice available from our pharmacists on respiratory problems and double points as well.
“It’s St David’s Day which makes it even more special and we’ve got the Belmont Male Voice Choir, we’ve got Welsh cakes hot from Swansea Market and we’ve got clog dancers from the Ty Tawe Centre so we’re as Welsh as you can get.
“We’re also delighted that Bandicoot are here – they have been helped by the Swansea YMCA project funded by Children In Need which is a brilliant example of how the charity helps local organisations and charities.”
Gergo Daroczi, Music Youth Support Officer for Swansea YMCA, said: “The support from Children In Need has really helped us expand what we do and give young people the chance to learn to play instruments and to play together.
“It is also giving them the chance to work in a recording studio for the first time and the whole experience of playing music and performing is very positive in terms of giving them confidence and a creative outlet.”
Bandicoot drummer Billy Stillman, 19, is from Sketty and he and fellow band members singer/guitarist Rhys Underdown, guitarist Gareh Goss and bass player Samuel Davies went to primary school together.
Billy said: “We started as a band nearly three years ago and the project has been awesome for us because we had no money and the YMCA provided a studio for us to record four songs and that’s been really important.
“It got us a lot of publicity and we’re having regular gigs now and are just about to start our first tour, playing in Edinburgh, Leicester and Cardiff.
“The YMCA also put on the Sound of Swansea gig with the bands that recorded there and we have also helped out other local bands down at the YMCA by backing them in the studio.”
Kelly Smith added: “We’re really looking forward to next Tuesday and we have a great day lined up.
“The Belmont Choir will be here from 10am to 11.30am and there are 20 of them so there should be a fantastic atmosphere in the store.”
Lisa Hartley, Manager of the Quadrant Shopping Centre, said: “This is a fantastic effort by Boots to put on a really action-packed event to support a very worthwhile charity in a way that really captures the flavour of Wales.
“The Swansea YMCA project is an outstanding example too and it’s great to see that money raised by Children In Need being used in such a positive way to help local young people.”