Corks out for a fizzy Friday fundraiser

A group of friends with a fancy for Friday fizz have got together to arrange a bubbly charity fundraiser in Exeter.

Corks out for Cancer on Friday September 1st at Exeter Castle is a twist on the craze for kick starting the weekend with a glass or two of something sparkly. 

It’s the idea of Sarah Hughes, Jo George, Sam Robertson-Greenwood and Juliet Phillips-Barry – linked by a love of sparkling wine and all touched by cancer.

“We wanted to raise money based around something we all enjoy. I suggested the Great West Run but that was quickly dismissed,” laughed Sarah. “We have lots of fun when we meet up for Friday fizz so Corks out for Cancer grew from that.”

Get this party started

The party starts at 6pm on September 1st and will go on until midnight. Tickets cost £20 and that includes a glass of fizz on arrival, a choice of street food, music from Radio Exe DJ John Johnston and live band Men Behaving Badly, a group of medics from Torbay.

Prosecco, champagne, cava and pink fizz will be on sale at reduced prices all night.

“There’ll be other drinks available too and it’s indoors so there’s no fear of getting wet,” said Jo, pictured below with Sarah. “It’s open to all, men and women. Dress up, dress down, wear whatever you like – just come along and have some fun.”

Profits from the event will be shared equally between Exeter-based FORCE Cancer Charity and national cause Macmillan.

Logical way to fundraise

Sarah, an NHS manager, was inspired to support cancer charities after losing her cousin to the disease in 2015.

“Rachel was only 36. She was too young to die and losing her had a massive impact on the family,” said Sarah. “She was one of the nicest people you could ever meet and would do anything for anyone. She was incredibly brave and courageous. Before she died she asked friends and family to continue raising money for the charities that had supported her.”

Juliet is a member of the team at Western Event Hire, so a hospitality event seemed the most logical way to fundraise for a cause especially close to her heart.

“Just over two years ago my husband Mark was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer at 45,” she explained. “He was an active dad with a passion for mountain biking and kite surfing. The cancer damaged his spine and life is different now. 

“The practical help we received from FORCE at that time was invaluable, from counselling to reflexology and CAB advisers, to a cup of tea with biscuits. The support we received from the whole team at FORCE is so appreciated. We wanted to say thank you and I hope to give something back so that this fantastic facility for local people in Devon can continue to make the difference it did to us, for other families whose world has been turned upside down by cancer.”

Evening of celebration

Corks out for Cancer is planned as an evening of celebration and there will be a unique opportunity to acknowledge those loved and lost to the disease.

“People will be able to write a name on a cork from every bottle opened on the night,” said Jo, Governance Manager at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

“Some people will come for a good night out to enjoy probably the cheapest fizz in town that day and for others it will be a deeply personal occasion,” she added.

Tickets for Corks out for Cancer, designed by Sam’s husband Dave, are available by emailing