THERE was a standing ovation for the galaxy of local artists who took part in the fund–raising concert at Peel’s Centenary Centre in aid of the Chris Walmsley appeal.
While there were a few seats vacant in the auditorium, it was not far short of full and we were told by the organiser and MC, Dickie Kelly, that every ticket for the event had been sold.
The concert featured most of the best and best-known entertainers in the ‘folk’ (in its broadest sense) field with Dickie Kelly calling on artists from the length and breadth of the island to give unstintingly of their time and talents in a good cause – to raise money for the stem-cell treatment, possibly in China, required by wheel-chair bound Chris Walmsley.
The treatment, which will entail Chris being in China for four to five weeks, together with a medical escort and two family members, is estimated to cost in the region of £60,000, of which the family, together with the organisation One Wo/man One Guitar represented by Dickie Kelly, have raised approximately £26,000 by way of busking, auctions and performances.
All of the artists at the Centenary Centre gave freely of their time and talents and each had to be limited to a ‘spot’ of 25 minutes.
The evening began with some Country and Irish songs from Donal McMahon and Eddie Rough who were joined by Pete Woodman whose self-made lap-steel guitar added a new and fresh dimension to the group’s sound.
Following a short interval, stalwart of the local folk scene Paul Cringle took to the stage together with singer Ann-Marie Murphy. The culmination of the night went to singers-guitarists Brendan McLaughlin and Stevie White whose set included their version of the Thin Lizzy 1972 hit Whisky in the Jar.
Dickie Kelly hopes that a CD of the concert will be available shortly. It was a most enjoyable and worthwhile night out with all proceeds – a total of £2,348, going to the Chris Walmsley Appeal Fund.