Brian Mear has been a paramedic within the Berkshire area
for 30 years. Sadly, he lost his mother Sally Mear to cancer in 2010 and as a way to channel this grief, he set up Mearfest within weeks of her death. Named in honour of his mother, Brian wanted to celebrate her indomitable spirit by organising a music festival that would raise money for various cancer charities.
With no previous experience, Brian made the first wooden stage by hand and organised the whole event from his 2G Nokia 3310 to the cost of £34.20! The event sold out. Luckily, soon after losing his mother, Brian met the love of his life Claire. Claire had previous experience working in the music industry so was able to work alongside Brian on three annual events. Since then they have hosted Mearfest raising funds for various hospice and cancer
However, In their mid-forties they were surprised and delighted to be expecting their first child together. At 23 weeks they were told Molly had T21 Down Syndrome, they decided to continue with the pregnancy and give her every chance in life. Unfortunately, in the thirty-ninth week of the pregnancy, tragedy struck. Molly Mear was born at 40 weeks stillborn on the 12th August 2013. She died two days before her due date.
This left the couple shattered by their grief and they drew even closer in their love and strength together. Two years later and stronger than ever, they decided to brave it by telling their heart-breaking story to the world in order to bring awareness to the possible causes of stillbirth and the emotional devastation this leaves behind.
The anguish never abates and so they poured their energy and grief into doing what they do best; they put on another great show. The money raised went to the stillbirth charity that helped them, but now they also raise money for Down Syndrome North East as Molly was a Down’s baby. Mearfest played in DSNE hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne and many of the families connected to the charity came down to rock the night away, they were all welcomed by the rock crowd. They now hold a special place in the Mear's hearts.
Mearfest was rebranded with a new focus and Molly’s handprint has become the logo, it is all Brian and Claire have left of her, keeping her spirit well and truly alive. It symbolically kept everyone's hearts beating to the rhythm of rock & metal, her small hand has been held close across the world. Mearfest specialises in new wave of British heavy metal music, which has brought many people near and far together.
Molly’s memory along with the genre of NWOBHM has created something unexpected, yet remarkable, her memory has forged new friendships across the globe. This has also resulted in a surprising development as others involved in the event, came forward and shared their own experiences, some never having a chance before to express this kind of grief. It provides a positive platform where others can seek understanding and loving support, giving so much goodness, insight and awareness back into this crazy planet.
The future is looking bright with Mearfest growing year on year. Attendance is growing, with much needed funds for their chosen charities increasing and Molly’s spirit continues to shine brightly.
Please visit website www.mearfest.org