An East Lancashire woman who started her own theatre company hosted a socially distanced arts festival to help combat the loneliness experienced during lockdown.

On Sunday September 6, Marissa Moore and her friend Keziah Lockwood, who run Talespin Theatre, held the event, called Sound and Mind, at The Anchor pub in Darwen.

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Hosted by TV and radio presenter Daniel Westwood, it ran from 1.30pm until 9pm, and featured 13 acts, including singer John Mackie, House of Fusion Dance School in Accrington, children's entertainment company, Wish Upon A Star Events, and Drag Queen Missie Jay.

The mini-festival, which was organised by the girls in just two weeks, also raised vital funds for mental health charity, Lancashire Mind.

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Marissa, from Blackburn said: "I've been through a tough time with my mental health recently and after receiving support from my friends and family, I began to think about the local charities and organisations which are available to offer support to those who may not be lucky enough to have a close-knit support circle.

"So I decided to use my platform within the arts community to raise that awareness and money for Lancashire Mind, a charity that does so much for the community."

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Former Our Lady's and St. John Catholic College pupil, Marissa, 22, said the arts are known for releasing happy endorphins - not only for those spectating but for the performers themselves as well.

She added: "With the current times meaning people have been deprived of live entertainment, we thought it would be the perfect pairing to make the event as informative, fun and safe as possible, all whilst bring the community and local businesses together again.

"A lot went into the event to ensure it met the guidelines and we encouraged frequent hand sanitising and social distancing was in place throughout.

"Of course, the whole purpose was to raise money and awareness for Lancashire Mind.

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"Tickets were £5 and we sold 285 tickets on our raffle and I even had a lovely man bring me to tears when telling the room how this event has been the best thing to happen in the community in a long time.

"I want to thank The Anchor, the performers, the stall holders, the audience, Emma from Lancashire Mind and all involved who have been vital in making this event possible."

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