KitFest to raise desperately needed funds

KitFest is a one day festival held at St. George’s Church, 15th September, aiming to raise funds for research and education, as well as marking what should have been the first birthday weekend of Kit Tarka, the son of James de Malplaquet, singer/songwriter with Brighton band The Miserable Rich, who died at 13 days after an undiagnosed HSV1 (cold sore) infection.

The concert is for their new charity, the Kit Tarka Foundation, which James and his wife started in honour of Kit.

Brighton’s biggest motorik band, Fujiya & Miyagi, and the smokey voiced soul queen Alice Russell – the latter rolling back the years in an intimate acoustic set with TM Juke – will be performing at KitFest, along with Gloria Cycles, performing their first gig for eight years, 40-piece female pop choir We Bop, and songstress Jess Bishop. The Miserable Rich will also be getting back together for the show in what is likely to be a highly emotional set.

They have now raised enough money for their first project, the co-funding (with Rocking Horse) of the first national study into neonatal HSV (herpes) infection in 25 years. The World Health Organisation has stated that more studies need to take place as herpes infection is on then rise worldwide. The last UK study, in Nottingham some five years ago, suggests a 17.5 times increase in infection of neonates. That would mean a baby dying every week in the UK.

The Kit Tarka Foundation is the only UK charity focussing on the prevention of neonatal deaths, and HSV aside, the figures are startling. Baby deaths in the UK have actually risen as a percentage of births for the last several years and a baby is nearly twice as likely to die in the first three months in the UK as in Cuba, twice as likely as in Slovenia and three times as likely as in Japan. Clearly there is much to be done.

You can find out about their story, as well as the need for the charity here: