By Andy Hirst

A major music, arts and wellbeing festival is being staged in the Colne Valley to raise money for a charity set up in memory of a 24-year-old who lost her life to cancer.

Ella Dawson from Slaithwaite was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukaemia but remained a big believer in creating a feeling of wellbeing no matter what trauma life throws at people.

This wellbeing ranges from healthy eating, exercise and movement, emotional support, relaxation techniques such as yoga through to creativity. Ella, who had graduated from Newcastle University with a degree in fine art, created an impressive portfolio of work even while she was ill.

Sadly, Ella lost her battle with cancer on July 11 last year but her spirit and philosophy on life lives on with a charity called the Ella Dawson Foundation set up by her mum, Jane, dad Kevin, sister Tasha who is studying to be a cancer and exercise practitioner, and Ella’s partner Connor Gamble who she met at university.

Now a music, arts and wellbeing festival called CoachElla will be held on Chain Road, Slaithwaite, on Saturday, August 13, from 2pm to 11pm. Tickets are £25 and £15 for under 15s and can be booked at

Music includes Jack Fletcher, party band Wired, Natural Rhythm Ska Band, Low River, Ian Bareham and DJ Rysz. The event’s large festival tepee will hold 500 people.

Crafts co-ordinated by Globe Arts Studio in Slaithwaite include lantern-making, canvas printing and pottery.

The bar will be run by Netherton-based Moll Springs Brewery and the food includes Rumpus Burger, woodfired pizzas, vegan food from Wild Café in Marsden and Dixons ice-cream.

There will be yoga, pilates and meditation, open mic poetry and wellbeing stalls featuring reflexology, head massage and aromatherapy along with a host of other stalls. The aim now is for the festival to become an annual event.

Ella’s mum, Jane, said: “This event sums up all Ella’s passions in life and we hope people will find it a really inspiring and enjoyable day out. When Ella was diagnosed with leukaemia she was determined never to be defined by cancer and despite a gruelling treatment regime she just continued to live life as she had done before cancer with purpose, positivity and gratitude.

“She had an incredible capacity to live in the present and to find positivity, joy, meaning and purpose in every single day.”

People can also buy products featuring Ella’s work from the Ella Dawson Foundation website ( with the money going to the foundation. Her artwork has been transformed into aromatherapy candles, notebooks, greeting cards and prints.

In the toughest days of her illness Ella felt that physical and psychological health were such a powerful force for good she set up a wellbeing blog to give advice on nutrition, exercise and remaining positive during treatment. She worked with blood cancer charities and even set up her own art studio in Huddersfield.

Jane said: “Ella continued to develop her extensive knowledge of physical and mental health, wellbeing and self-healing which inevitably increased her quality of life, mental strength and appreciation of life. We are so proud of the incredible inspirational person she was and everything she achieved. We now want to carry this on with the charity.”

The Foundation’s aim is to provide this kind of holistic support for all cancer patients aged 18 to 30 to help them with their psychological, nutritional and physical needs. The ultimate aim is to set up its own specialist centre.

To book tickets for CoachElla go to

* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.