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17 Sep 2019 Community

Community come together at Mirfield’s Navifest for Kirkwood

Every year, The Navigation Pub hosts the Navifest festival for the Mirfield community to come together and enjoy a day of rock music with all proceeds going towards Kirkwood Hospice and Forget Me Not Hospice. This year, organisers were delighted to raise £6,000 for both charities.

The Navigation Tavern, situated in the rural village of Mirfield has been managed by Kevin O’Donnell for over 20 years, before his retirement as Landlord earlier this year.

Along with good friend, Tony Jackson, who is a regular volunteer at the Kirkwood Shop in Batley, host the annual Navifest at the much-loved pub and have been doing so for the last 8 years.

It all started back in 2011, when Tony was lead singer in the local band, Gods of Fortune, and planned a gig at the Navigation Tavern. They were beyond lucky with the weather and had such a great turn out that the following year, they decided to take the event outside and make a day of it and so was Navifest born.

Tony always rallied local bands and artists to come together and put on an afternoon of music of the people of Mirfield. This year was no different as they made the 2019 Navifest their biggest and best yet, taking place on Saturday 6th July.


Once Kevin and Tony knew their event was growing and would become even more successful every year, they decided to donate all proceeds to their local Hospice’s – Kirkwood and Forget Me Not.

Kevin is very passionate about Kirkwood as his wife, Linda, was a cared for at the end of her life on the In-Patient Unit.

Tony said: “It’s progressed right from the gig I did 8 years ago, getting bigger and bigger every year. As Kevin has now retired, we’re calling it a day. But we’ve had 8 really good years and we’ve raised a lot of money for both charities.

 “The Navifest has been a huge success, that’s the main thing. There are a lot of things, besides raising money for the charities, which people have got out of this festival over the years. People come every year and it’s a real social event for our community. It’s been great, I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.

“It’s a community event for people in this area, people that might need Kirkwood in the future. I’ve worked at the Hospice in the past and I’ve seen the fabulous work they do. It’s absolutely fantastic and this community needs it.”

On the day, attendees were welcomed with glorious sunshine and relaxed to the sounds of local bands and artists with friends and family, with the event continuing well into the afternoon.

Tony has since retired from the Gods of Fortune, but due to this year being the final ever Navifest, he asked a favour to sing one last song with his band. In true Kirkwood spirit, Tony encouraged two other Kirkwood volunteers, Sally and Lauren, to go on stage and sing ‘All You Need Is Love’ by The Beatles.

“Everyone joined in when we got on stage to sing, it absolutely echoed around Mirfield. Even people on the canal in their boats were pulling up and listening to the music.”

The Navifest has been such a success since its inception, that both Gomersal Cricket Club and Birstall Cricket Club have been inspired to host their own festival for their community.

“It was all Kevin’s idea in the beginning and at first I would carry buckets through the crowd asking for donations for the charities. Since then, I think Kevin realised it wouldn’t be too hard to put something together officially to raise money for Kirkwood and Forget Me Not.

“I announced Kevin’s retirement at the festival as a lot of people come every year. He could very well turn round next year and ask me to get organising again!”

Since October 2000, The Navigation Pub has raised over £23,400 through the Navifest and collection tins.

Community Fundraiser, Joanna Doherty, recently visited Kirkwood’s shop in Batley, where Tony volunteers his time every Wednesday.

Joanna said: “The amount of hard work and effort put in by Kevin and his team to organise Navifest is incredible and the event brings the local community together to have a wonderful time as well as raising much needed funds for Kirkwood.

“I’d also like to personally thank Kevin for his ongoing support of the hospice and for the fantastic amount he has contributed over the years.”

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