Enjoyment is key to organist's charity efforts
A LEGENDARY local musician who has spent nearly half his life raising money for charity has reached a major cash milestone.
For 40 years Dave Clarke has played his organ at countless charity events and become a familiar face across west Cornwall.
Now, with his latest donation to the children's cancer unit at Royal Cornwall Hospital, Mr Clarke has handed over a cash total to the tune of around £200,000.
But despite his amazing works, the pensioner is humble in his achievements.
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"I only do this because I enjoy it, I don't look for any gain," said Mr Clarke, who lives at Eastern Green, Penzance, with his wife, and self-proclaimed roadie, Cynthia.
"If it can help someone then I am all for it."
The giving musician began helping others four decades ago and now works the circuit of local charity events. Mr Clarke is well known for performing on Penzance Promenade, during the town's Mazey Day celebrations and at Pengarth Day Centre as, well as at the annual Lifeboat Day in St Ives. He was awarded a long-service medal with the RNLI after spending 27 years as a launcher of the local rescue boat and presented with Penwith's Alan Harvey Citizen of the Year award in 1995. Another top accolade saw him take on the first leg of the Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay in 2002, starting from Land's End.
Mr Clarke has taken his organ on the road, walking with it from St Ives to Torquay for charity. And he became a local celebrity when he donned a suit made entirely of beer bottle tops to yomp from west Cornwall to Treliske Hospital to raise money for a mammography machine.
The father of six is a self-taught organ player who bought his first instrument when he was out of work. After practising for six months he was asked to perform at a local pub before spending many a year touring around the county playing his tunes.
"I don't think about the money that has been raised, just what it has been able to do for people," he said.
"You only have to ask to visit the children's cancer ward at Treliske and you will understand what I mean. When you see what the money is doing it is all worthwhile."
Mr Clarke also paid tribute to the many people who gave money over the years, saying if it wasn't for them, none of these organisations would have been helped.
"This is the public's money," he said.
"And whether they have given £1, 50p or just a penny then that is something."
And with his calendar already filling with performances for this year, Mr Clarke is refusing to slow down.