Harlem Shake in memory of dead teenager scrapped over killjoy council’s health and safety demands

April 5, 2013 | by | 0 Comments
Joe Porter died in February from a rare form of bowel cancer and plans for a charity Harlem Shake have been scrapped over health and safety fears

Joe Porter died in February from a rare form of bowel cancer and plans for a charity Harlem Shake have been scrapped over health and safety fears

A charity Harlem Shake in memory of a tragic teenager has been scrapped after council officials hit the organisers with a raft of health and safety demands.

Friends of Joe Porter, 16, who died in February from a rare form of bowel cancer, had planned to raise money for two cancer charities.

Around 100 people were expected to take part in the ‘flash mob’ style event which would have been filmed and shown on YouTube.

But town centre bosses in Nailsea, Somerset, insisted on numerous conditions before it could go ahead – even though it would only last a few minutes.

They told organisers they needed to appoint marshalls, carry out a risk assessment and have first aid staff on hand.

And they were told they had to apply for a temporary events licence from North Somerset Council.

Due to the red tape the shake at the town centre was cancelled and rescheduled to coincide with a charity football match and auction at a local sports centre on May 12.

Organiser Emma Robbins, a family friend, said: “We chose the town centre as we thought it was an easy, central location for everyone to get to.

“When I spoke to the town centre office, initially they said it was fine to go ahead. Then a few weeks later I received a call asking if we had insurance for the event.

“Then we were told we would need to carry out a risk assessment of the event, provide marshals and first aid cover and apply to North Somerset Council for a temporary events licence.

“It seems like a lot of red tape to go through just to hold an event which will probably last for just a few minutes.

“I understand the need for health and safety but this was a fun event for the local community which is raising money for the appeal.”

Joe’s mum Joyce said she was disappointed the event had to be rearranged, but hoped people would still support the Harlem Shake at the sports club.

She said: “It’s a shame all this red tape was necessary and something simple has been made complicated for an event for charity.”

Keen sportsman Joe was diagnosed with a rare form of bowel cancer in December 2011 and underwent numerous operations and chemotherapy as he fought the disease.

His family and friends thought he had beaten it but a routine operation last November discovered the cancer had returned and was inoperable.

Nailsea shopping centre manager Jim Lucas said: “We are still keen that the event goes ahead in Somerset Square.

“We are hoping to open some dialogue with the organisers to see how we can help. It is a charity which we very much want to support.”

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