Michael Jackson fans set to ‘thrill’ Barnstaple

Joseph Bulmer

Thriller dance on the Square will raise money for the Chemotherapy Appeal

ONE of the world’s most celebrated pop videos is in line for a “thrilling” recreation in Barnstaple next month.

Michael Jackson fans in North Devon will be joining forces with thousands of devotees from all over the globe when they stage a specially choreographed performance of Thriller at 3pm on Saturday, October 29.

The zombie-themed dance on the Square will be one of more than 130 simultaneous “Thrill the World” events taking place on five different continents.

Elsewhere in England, zombies will be strutting their stuff in Portsmouth, Stroud, London and Chichester, while around the world, the iconic dance is scheduled to take place in major cities including Sydney, Vancouver and Tokyo. America alone will host more than 60 individual events.

Thrill the World events have been taking place annually since 2006. Globally, participants hope to be able to set a new Guinness World Record for the most people performing the Thriller dance at the same time. In Barnstaple, it is hoped the event will raise vital funds for the North Devon Chemotherapy Unit Appeal at North Devon District Hospital.

Local organiser Anthony Price, 29, said he chose to organise the event for the appeal following his experiences battling cancer as a teenager.

“In 1997, I was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer of the neck and throat,” said Anthony, a trainee manager at Dominos Pizza.

“I was only 15 at the time and as we didn’t have any local facilities at the hospital for scans, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, it meant long trips to Bristol city every time I had treatment.

“Long journeys are hard when you are young at the best of times but I was extremely ill which just made it worse.

”To get this unit up and running would be amazing so no one in Barnstaple has to make that journey.”

Anthony, a self-taught special effects makeup artist, said around 60 participants had signed up to take part in the event on the Square and various local businesses had already pledged their support.

Among those on board are Devon Delights, The Olive Branch, Mumms Taxis, Brend Hotels, North Devon Leisure Centre, Domino’s Pizza, Prontaprint and Inspiration Fitness, who will be holding a sponsored static cycling challenge on the day from 12noon to 2.45pm.

“The event will begin at 12noon with Michael Jackson songs to warm the crowd up,” added Anthony.

“This is the first year that Barnstaple has taken part and we have ‘zombies’ joining us from all over North Devon.

“It’s my first time doing anything like this and I am proud of all the volunteers who are dedicating their spare time to help me make this a massive success,” he said.

For more information about the event or to get involved, visit www.anthonypricefx.co.uk/ttwbarnstaple