Home   Malling   News   Article

New festival, The Russfest, in Ditton, to celebrate father's life and raise money for Heart of Kent Hospice

A festival in Ditton will celebrate the life of a father-of-four who died aged just 42 after a battle with cancer.

The Russfest, named after Russell Richardson, will raise money for the Heart of Kent Hospice, near Maidstone, which cared for the builder.

From left: Oliver, Russell, Emma, Alfie, Lily and Frankie Richardson on a day out in Folkestone
From left: Oliver, Russell, Emma, Alfie, Lily and Frankie Richardson on a day out in Folkestone

Russell’s widow, Emma Richardson, is organising the fundraiser at K Sports Cobdown on Saturday, July 18.

As well as music, there will be a barbecue, raffle and old-fashioned games.

Emma, 42, met Russell at a pub when she was 18 and the pair moved to Ditton.

He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in April 2018 and died in March last year.

Emma, who works in the kitchen at K Sports, said: “He was the life and soul of the party."

Emma and Russell Richardson at Emma's fortieth birthday celebrations
Emma and Russell Richardson at Emma's fortieth birthday celebrations

“Anybody that met him said he touched their hearts. He would do anything for anyone.

“There were so many people at his funeral that I didn’t even know.”

After complaining of leg pains in March last year, Russell, who owned a building company, was told he had only days to live and spent his final two weeks at the Heart of Kent Hospice.

“He kept saying ‘I am not giving up’,” said Emma. “We had a party in the hospice with the kids and a movie night. They gave us the dining room with pizzas and popcorn. They were great. I want to raise as much money for them as possible.”

The couple have four children Lily, 20, Alfie, 19, Oliver, 15, who goes to The Malling School, and Frankie, nine, who goes to Ditton Junior School.

Lily, an air stewardess, has already raised £1,500 for the hospice, in Aylesford, by doing a skydive, while Alfie, an engineering apprentice, donated £1,700 to Macmillan Cancer Support after shaving his hair off.

"Anybody that met him said he touched their hearts"...

“They are living their dreams, which is what we wanted,” Emma said. “We have got to try and carry on.”

Raffle prizes at the fundraiser will include a walk over the 02, a rugby shirt signed by England players and brunch at The Swan in West Malling.

There will also be football matches, a cake stall, a sack race and face painting with the day kicking off at 2pm.

Donations can be made throughout the day, rather than an entry fee.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone


More by this author


Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More