Benefit concert raises funds to help Horizon Yacht Charters staff in BVI

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The Canadian owner of a boat in the Horizon Yacht Charters British Virgin Islands fleet held a fundraiser to send furniture and generators to the Horizon staff in Tortola who were devastated by Hurricane Irma.

Shocked by the damage the hurricane caused, Patrick Festing-Smith, who lives in Oakville, Ontario, owns Nanuk and is a frequent visitor to the BVI, decided to help the staff of Horizon BVI, some of whom are his friends.

Festing-Smith said in a statement that he wanted to “stop looking at the damage and try and help these poor people. Some of whom I have known for decades and have now lost everything.”

He quickly organized a benefit concert, lining up Ed Robertson of the band Barenaked Ladies, who has sailed on Nanuk three times in the BVI. He also tapped music producer and performer Danny Michel, who has sailed with Festing-Smith; Ron MacLean, longtime TV host of “Hockey Night In Canada”; and Jim Cuddy of the Canadian band Blue Rodeo.

Two days later, the committee had organized a concert and sold all of the tickets for it. The event was held Sept. 27 at The Moonshine Cafe in Oakville.

“All in all, people raved it was the best party of the year,” Festing-Smith said. “Small, intimate and comedic, with Ed and Jim busting our sides with jokes and warming our hearts with amazing tunes.”

The event raised $55,000 from ticket sales, silent and live auctions, T-shirt sales and donations.

The money went toward items such as mattresses, box springs, furniture and generators. It was delivered to the staff of Horizon Yacht Charters in the BVI on Dec. 13.

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