Drum roll, please… He’s done it! Not only has Plymouth man Cuz Cussen reached his target of raising an incredible £100,000 for St Luke’s Hospice Plymouth, he’s smashed it, pulling £100,563 – a Titan of a total for the much-loved local charity that cared so compassionately for his mum, Dot, before she passed away from cancer in 2008.
Big-hearted truck driver Cuz, who lives in Mutley with his wife Lyn and son Tyler, is the powerhouse behind Rockfest, the annual live music weekender he founded in 2002 and works tirelessly to organise each year.
Since 2009, the two-day extravaganza and tribute to Dot has been raising money for St Luke’s due to Cuz’s desire to give back to the charity for the outstanding care they provided for his beloved mum in her final weeks and the support they gave her husband Don, to whom she was married nearly 50 years, and Cuz himself.
Over the Easter weekend (20 and 21 April), the popular event at Crash Manor, Union Street, saw hundreds of loyal Rockfest supporters, plus new attendees, rock out to the sounds of 19 bands who generously played for free in aid of St Luke’s, which provides specialist end of life care for terminally ill people at home, in hospital and at its specialist unit at Turnchapel.
Thanks to Cuz’s unwavering determination and the enthusiastic support of the venue’s owners, the bands, audience and local businesses who donate raffle prizes, this year’s Rockfest raised £10,563, taking Cuz well over the £100,000 target he had set to help St Luke’s raise vital funds to care for 100 families at home.
Not only was interest in Rockfest as strong as ever this year, multimillion-selling band Bastille also lent their support by offering up for the raffle two much-coveted weekend tickets to see the them perform at the Isle of Wight Festival.
Cuz said: “I’m ecstatic to have not only met but exceeded the £100,000 target I set for Rockfest to raise. The support I’ve received over the years has been phenomenal, helping St Luke’s and also proving there is a real appetite for live music in Plymouth. “Mum was awesome and losing her was very hard, but St Luke’s were amazing in every aspect of their care for her, as well as being there for me and my Dad, too. I’m thrilled to be able to do this to honour Mum’s memory and help the charity be there for more families needing them at a very vulnerable time.
“Organising Rockfest takes a huge amount of drive and energy, and I couldn’t do it without the support of those who get behind it year on year. As well as my family and friends, I would like to thank the Locke family for the use of Crash Manor, venue manager Matt Edwards, and Nick Western for his technical support. And, of course, the amazing bands and all our loyal supporters. Everyone has done us proud!”
Nina Wearne, Community and Events Fundraising Manager at St Luke’s, said: “Cuz has gone above and beyond to make Rockfest such a popular event each year and raise this incredible amount for St Luke’s. Not only is it a wonderful way to remember his mum Dot, it guarantees that we can help over a hundred patients and their families through a very challenging time. Cuz is an inspiration and we’re so grateful to him and everyone else involved for what they have achieved.”