Sunnyside 09

Video available
Bruce Baker-Johnson has produced a three-hour video of the event, which he is offering for £10, including postage, with all profits being donated to our charity appeal. Please email him at for payment instructions. This link will provide 38 minutes of highlights, edited from Bruce's video, of Saturday night's show.

The final cast on Saturday night (in order of appearance)

Pierre Petrou (MC)
Dean Hubert
Jett Scream
Pat James
Andrew Tween
Bruce Seaton
Paul Staines
Johnny Storme
Creeping Bentgrass
Rob Dee
Geoff Howlett
Vince Eager and Rockola

Paul Staines kindly hosted the Friday night jam session, for which he also provided PA equipment.
Thanks to Cathy Homann's daughter Jo and granddaughters Sophie, Catherine and Shannon for organising the raffle on Saturday,  Ken Darvell for running the door on Saturday, Maureen for selling merchandise, and Chris Eley for running the auction.

We were greatly assisted by manager Marie Yates and staff at the Sunnyside and Debra and staff at the Innkeepers Lodge Northampton East.  

Thanks to Chris for his kind gift of a framed photograph of Billy's appearance at the Sunnyside - I've decided that the most appropriate course is for me to bring it to every future event in Northampton - and to Paul for presenting me with a guitar signed by all of the performers.

**As those who have visited out little flat will have discovered, we have very little room to store anything.  After I had spent a couple of months showing the guitar to my family and friends, I donated it to our local hospice, St Catherine's, for auction for their funds. I trust that everyone will understand.**

Message from Mrs Jean Wycherley

The last time I was at Sunnyside was in December 1982 watching Billy give a wonderful performance which I assume you have all heard as, fortunately, it was recorded. 

How well I can still remember that night. I remember thinking that Billy's popularity never declined despite his semi-retirement. His fans still adored him and packed this room. They were as loyal then as they were in the sixties and still remain to this day. 

The high standard of his performance, singing many of his hits inter-woven with some more recent recordings was as good as it ever was. It is still hard to believe seeing him on that night, that this was to be one of his last ever shows.

I am delighted that so many of you have travelled here this evening to attend the last tribute event at Sunnyside. My thanks go to Harry Whitehouse for organising this evening and to all the tribute artists keeping Billy's memory and music alive twenty-seven years on.

I had intended to surprise you all tonight be attending this nostalgic and somewhat sad event. However, the date coincides with my grandson's birthday as he resides abroad, it is not possible for me to attend both occasions. I would have enjoyed meeting you all and joining everyone for this special evening. I am sure you will all have a wonderful evening and I will think of you all as I enjoy my family's birthday celebrations.

I send my love to you all and thank you for keeping my son close to your hearts as he always is in mine.

Harry writes:  Albie spoke to me on the telephone, expressed his regret at being unable to attend and sent his good wishes.

Pictures by Bruce Baker-Johnson, Dean Hubert, Rob Dee, Maureen Whitehouse, Mags Cummings, Cathy Homann, Rita Adderley, Pat James, Bruce Seaton, Margaret Dewick, Babs Hughes, Alan Woodham.  Many thanks for your assistance

Harry writes:

I don't think anyone would argue that this was our most successful Sunnyside event to date.

We sold out two weeks in advance, and turned down more than 100 requests for tickets from local people.

A major change was the use of a base hotel - the Innkeeper's Lodge Northampton East - where many guests stayed, and where the jam session was held on Friday afternoon and evening in a meeting room reserved for us.

Those who stayed for the entire weekend had a brilliant time, most of them paying less than £80 for three nights' bed and breakfast accommodation for two people for three nights in a good hotel, and enjoying a carvery meal for a fiver.

The entertainment was superb and the company was truly wonderful.

Both the Friday evening jam session, and the main show on Saturday night were packed. 

Thanks to everyone who made it such a remarkable success.

And yes, of course we're going to do it again - just check out the Sunnyside 2010 page on and start counting down the days.

Johnny Storme writes...


Prior to Sunnyside I emailed Harry to say that I might not be singing due to this lung problem and I cut out a few songs that I knew I’d not be able to sing because of it. Arranged with Pauline and Henry to convoy on the way up. Set up my new sat-nav and packed ready for the trip.

Followed Henry’s car up to the last few miles, stopping for a bite to eat on the way. Henry suggested we take over as we had the full postcode entered on our sat-nav. Henry has now learnt NOT to suggest anything! LOL! I took over the lead and we ended up at a car wash. 

“You have reached your destination,” it said. I looked round and thought that this place was a bit of a dive… ok, a big shower but no sleeping accommodation!

Henry then informed us that it was indeed a carwash and my sat-nav was useless. We later found out hat to get you to point B you had to enter a correct postcode and not one that had been made up… or did I really need glasses?

We arrived at the Innkeepers Lodge and recognised some faces from the board along with old friends from previous Sunnyside meetings. 

Memory lapsed again whilst booking in and I thought that it was a good job I’m retiring. After settling in we joined everyone in the room where Paul had set up his gear for the evening.

Soon we joined the long queue for the carvery and settled down to eat. After filling ourselves we again joined everyone in the room to listen to the talented singers.

John and David entertained for most of the evening and they were fantastic. Christine, Rob, Bruce, Steven, Paul, Dean’s wife and other’s I’ve forgotten names of…. (memory going fast) also did us all proud by singing for us.

My voice faltered a bit on the first song I did that night but Paul came to the rescue with Christine’s request for a Furyboys song. The evening drew to a close soon after with everyone joining in the singing to R’ Pauline


After brekky we decided to have a run around in Henry’s car but soon I became unwell and he kindly took me back to the Innkeepers. (Before anyone asks….. I hadn’t been drinking!) After a lie down in a dark room it was time to get ready and we arrived at the Sunnyside a little later ready for the sound check… did we get one guys as my memory fails me!

Now in no particular order as I have lost the list… well… put it in a safe place.. Hurrhum!!

Christine (Ladies first)
What a fantastic voice! Your HTP was superb along with the rest of your set. Now if only my voice was as powerful. More I say! More!

Dean H
Now this guy is too good looking for my liking. And has a gold jacket exactly like the one I used to have. Dean does a great tribute to Billy. Another star.

Jett Scream
Wow Jett.. You move a lot more than I do! Great Elvis and Billy songs. Another the ladies like.

Andrew Tween
Andrew is a smooth kinda guy that carries a Billy song very well along with other great songs on the night… Gave a few of the crowd an eye full as he changed for the evening..errr… almost on stage! Superb performance as usual Andrew.

Bruce Seaton
Well what can I say Bruce? You got up there in front of an audience and wowed them. Nerves got the better of you on one song but you came through it triumphantly and excelled in all the others. I take my hat off to you Bruce, you were fantastic. It’s very hard to get up there and do what you did and I’m proud to be one of the artists joining you that night.

Pat James
Now Pat is another guy that can steal the hearts of the audience…and did. 

Great set Pat. Loved the songs and what a great voice.

Rock 'n' roll Snowy!! You could be a singer in a rock band! Some great Elvis numbers done in your style. Loved the ballad at the end with Sophie. Fantastic!

Creeping Bentgrass
John and David continued from Friday, giving us a great set that really showed off the way they entertain everyone. These guys are Pro's and a great laugh. Keep entertaining you two!. Stunning!

Rob Dee
Rob does a fantastic Billy Fury tribute and Saturday night was no exception Rob. You rock.

Geoff Howlett
Geoff was the warm up act this year for the headliner Vince Eager and Rockola and what a warm up act he was. Geoff told me he was very nervous beforehand but wow! Stunning performance.

Paul Staines
I saved Paul until last as we have something special regarding singing. I am in awe of Paul’s singing ability and was proud to share a couple of songs with him. Paul is a big man with a huge heart who makes everyone smile whenever he is around them. I was honoured to sing with him. Thank you Paul.

The evening finished with a fantastic set from Vince Eager and Rockola who can really belt out the old songs. What a stunning weekend.

I'd like to thank Pierre for his excellent compering and Harry and everyone that made this a night to remember.

Marie Richardson writes:

I met Jean under her clock at Lime Street Station. We were both really excited as we always are when we are going to meet up with our Billy friends.

When we arrived at Northampton Station Paul was just pulling up in his car having set up his equipment for the Friday night jam session. 

After the usual formal hand shakes :wink: :lol: we set off for Cathy's. Cathy was waiting for us as excited as we were. It was so lovely to see her again.

We arrived at The Innkeepers on the Friday evening. Lots of hugs and kisses with friends old and new then Cathy dragged Paul, Jean and myself out of the dinner queue.

We were not very pleased until we saw the reason why .........MOYA at the was FANTASTIC to see her. After our dinner we all went into the room for the evening jam session which I think everyone will agree with me was a big success and Paul was a fantastic compere.

Saturday arrived at last. We arrived at Sunnyside about 2pm so we could get a good seat.

We had a meal and then caught up with all our old friends and got to know the lovely new ones. 

5pm arrived and at long last the evening entertainment commenced - from the very first note until the very last one each and every artist was just outstanding. 

There were lots of high spots for me but one that had me fighting back the tears was when The Furyboys started to sing- now you may not all realise this but I quite like Johnny and Paul on their own :wink: but together WOW words fail me they were just AMAZING. 

Another lovely moment was being handed a rose by our Rob- thank you Rob xxx but as I have said before I just loved each and every one one of you, so much so that at about 10pm I realised i'd not had any tea :shock: or dinner to you southeners :)
The end of the evening came and as usual we all joined hands and belted out HTP. This always is a very special moment for me just looking round at all the wonderful friends I have made on and fighting back the tears :love3:

Sunday lunchtime Bruce, Di, Cathy, Jean, Paul and myself all went out for lunch then back to Cathy's where we were all talking 50 to the dozen :lol:

Then the day we all dread Monday and time for tearful goodbyes. Paul set off in his car back to Bromley and Cathy took Jean and myself back to Northampton station. Jean and myself arrived onto the platform as the train was just pulling in - strange that I'm usually yelling at them to open the doors again.

Just then we noticed Katie and Alan, well this was the icing on the cake as we all sat together. We all waved goodbye to Cathy and had a lovely journey until much too soon Katie and Alan had reached the station were they had to change trains :cry:

Jean and myself arrived back at Lime Street where I got on the train for Newton- Le-Willows. Jean seemed to be loitering - can't think why :wink:

Back now to reality but what an absolutely perfect weekend was had by all - oh and I mustn't forget that snog.

John Burke writes: What a FABULOUS weekend! The Billy Fury weekend went in a blaze of meetings, hugs, laughs, highs and great, great music.

We went down to an Innkeeper's Lodge hotel in Northampton that was more-or-less just filled with Billy fans including the wonderful Moya, a close personal friend of Billy's who had come all the way from her adopted home in New Zealand. Moya's a pint-sized person with a tanker-sized personality and was such a lot of fun!

Friday afternoon we met up with some familiar faces, Harry, Maureen, John and Diane, Bruce and Diane, Pauline and Henry, Steve Sinclair, Katie and Alan, Rob and more! Paul had set up his gear but wasn't around so we played a few songs to test the set-up and then invited someone else to have a go but without Paul we weren't sure how to work the CD and mini disc players.

We played a few more songs then - I mean our normal set runs 4 hours and no one seemed to want to wave a large hook near us... Rob brought his guitar out to sing a couple of songs and David and I joined in with a few "ooh-ahh-oohs" which reduced him to laughter at one point I'm sure...

Moya came to sit next to me for the meal - I didn't eat all that much for laughing actually... Ah well, get us northerners together you know... She did very well for someone used to standing on her head... Then lots more familiar faces - Cathy, Jean and Marie (who rushed straight in for the snog, by 'eck, that's my kind of woman! :lol: )

And then Friday night was the first main gig - an informal gathering in a packed room with many of the great artists who have sung on the Sounds Special monthly feature on Billy Fury web site. We met up with all the artists and the other regulars from the site's forum and it was a great night with music from (in totally random order) Rob Dee, Bruce Seaton, Johnny Storme, Jewel, Dean Hubert, Angus, Steve Sinclair, Jane, Pat James, Paul Staines, Snowy, Phil Jennings plus David and myself.

Paul and Johnny, dubbed The Fury Boys by the female members of the forum, (The Fury Girls...) did a fantastic duet together and set hearts fluttering all round the room judging by the reactions!

Then it was the turn of The Fury Girls themselves at the end of the night to gather to sing "Fans of Billy Fury" to the tune of "Land of Hope & Glory", whilst I desperately tried to keep up accompaniment on the keyboards! A big thank you to all those ladies who turned to me and started humming the fast bit after you stopped singing - I was on a keyboard, not the Halle Orchestra... Honestly, talk about optimistic...!

We ended with all the singers up for a rousing rendition of Billy's most famous hit Halfway To Paradise. I'd offered to do the backing but with so many singers they were soon dragging way behind the keyboard so I carried on with just the guitar - it didn't matter a bit as we were just enjoying ourselves far too much to care.

After such a great night there wasn't much chance of sleep until we had wound down a bit and a bottle of wine in the room with David and Jeannie brought the night to a close and David and Jeannie went back to their own room and we collapsed like a light switched off.

Saturday was the main event at the Sunnyside club where Billy had given his last stage performance. The singers were joined by Jett Scream, Geoff Howlett and Andrew Tween.

Out of 14 acts we were chuffed to find ourselves only 4th from the top of the bill, which was topped by Billy's ex-flatmate Vince Eager with his band Rockola. I strongly suspect talent had nothing to do with our placement but I can dream...

With three hours of music before we were due to go on, there was plenty of time for a few butterflies in the stomach and I was unbelievably nervous as the MC, disc jockey Pierre Petrou from London's Radio Northwick Park introduced us. But the roar that followed us as we walked onto the stage banished the nerves. Last time I heard a roar like that we had the whole audience behind us and only shook them off after half a mile...

I quickly made sure the guitar was still in tune and then promptly cocked up the intro to I'm a Believer! Not to worry, we gave what seemed like a good set of six songs and we hadn't gone all that far before the floor filled with dancers which is always a
good sign! And it saved the audience from actually having to look at our mugs...

Lots of people made very kind comments afterwards but we found it quite strange and having spoken to some of the other singers we knew we weren't alone. You grow into a gig and we felt that we had only just got going and then our 6 songs were up and we had to come off. But enough people said how much they had enjoyed it to make up for any regrets about only having a 20 minute slot and the whole night was a buzz with some really great acts!

I was grabbed to dance with Babs and then Jean and Marie and then once more all the singers joined Vince on stage to sing "HTP" and a really great night ended on a high.

We left on Sunday morning after doing a final round of goodbyes and reflected on lots of new friends made and meetings with people from the forum who I've felt I've known for so long. The proudest moment? Probably when someone from one of the two fan clubs came to say how much he had enjoyed my arrangement of Billy's King For Tonight which he described as "rocked up"!










The total from Sunnyside 09, to be forwarded to our official charity, Alder Hey Children's Hospital, is £1,550.71 (and one US cent!).

I have already credited an extra £30 on behalf of NMMG, which was handed over to me at the event, but I shall be sending the balance as a cheque for the Heart Fund this week. A scan of the cheque and the eventual receipt will appear later.

(There is a very good reason for this procedure - the taxman is not going to believe that £1,550.71 is a personal donation from me, and we don't want to place in jeopardy the tax refunds that have already been applied to other people's donations by doing anything questionable with this one.)

Although we had a record attendance, we could probably have sold another 100 or more tickets, thanks to late local demand, if I hadn't been concerned about over-crowding.  Each year, the headline band are always very kind, and charge us a heavily reduced fee. I regard the actual sum as confidential, so I show the ticket sales figure net of fees, credit card charges and bills.  (Incidentally, someone asked me if I made the artists' laminates - in fact, they are a professional product, made by a firm that produces them for big name concerts and tours.) 

Ticket sales less fees and bills:   £529.50
Friday raffle:          £ 180.21
Saturday raffle:      £ 305.00
Auction:               £  415.00
Paul's CD sales:   £    63.00
LDLMD sales:       £    48.00
Donation re HTP
   £    10.00
                           £  1021.21      £1021.21        

Our fourth annual (almost) event at the Sunnyside, Northampton, scene of Billy Fury's last public performance, will be held on Saturday March 21, 2009.

The headline act will be Vince Eager and Rockola.

Plus, we will again hold a Friday night jam session, although at a new venue..

The 2005, 2006 and 2007 events provided brilliant weekends.

For 2009, the entire experience remains only £10 a head.

As usual, all profits will be donated to the official charity of, the heart fund at Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool.

Admission is by badge.  This 2.25-inch diameter badge names you as a "Sunnyside 09 sponsor".

Artists appearing to date include:

Vince Eager and Rockola
(and in alphabetical order, subject to change)
Creeping Bentgrass
Rob Dee (of the Fury Sound)
Geoff Howlett
Pat James
Pierre Petrou (MC)
Roger Sea
Bruce Seaton
Paul Staines
Johnny Storme
Andrew Tween

The programme is as follows:

Friday March 20: Free jam session starts at the Innkeepers Lodge, Northampton East, Talavera Way, Round Spinney, Northampton NN3 8RN at 7.30pm.  

We hope as many people as possible will also be able to have dinner together at 6.30pm at the hotel carvery. No booking or payment is necessary to attend the jam session, but if you wish to have dinner, please state this when you book your Sunnyside tickets.  (For the moment, there's no guarantee that we can fit new folk in for dinner, as extra numbers are open to discussions with the hotel.  I'll do my best, of course.)

The carvery menu can be viewed here.

We have the jam session room at the Innkeepers Lodge all afternoon, so if you're able to arrive early on the Friday, please feel free to turn up and socialise. Please note, however, that those staying at the hotel cannot check into their rooms until 2pm.

Saturday March 21: The live music will probably start no later than 5pm. The performance area will be available for eating/socialising from 2pm.

The venue serves decent food at very reasonable prices.

We are expecting the fan clubs to have memorabilia stalls.

There will be another high quality raffle, and probably an auction or two.

To attend:

Tickets remain at £10 each, plus £1 per order if you would like them to be posted. The "ticket" is in the form of a 58mm badge, with the words "Sunnyside 09 sponsor". If you later find you can't attend, bookings are refundable (less any Paypal commission and postage) until January 31. 

To perform:

Please contact me as soon as possible if you would like to perform. The only reward is your own satisfaction in singing to a wonderful audience, and an offer of your own free ticket.

There are no hotels or B&Bs within easy walking distance of the Sunnyside.

We suggest:

1 The Innkeepers Lodge, Northampton M1, London Road, Northampton, NN4 0TG. The hotel where we are holding the jam session on the Friday night is now fully booked.  I am suggesting this other hotel in the same chain because of the excellent deal available.  It will also be easier to arrange transport if as many people as possible stay together.  The total cost for a room for Friday and Saturday night, including continental breakfast, is £79.90. They will take your credit/debit card details when you book, but you will not be charged until you arrive. The booking can be cancelled at any time before 1pm on Friday 20 March. IMPORTANT: You book on the website, You must book for THREE nights to get this rate. (The third night is free, and obviously, you don't have to stay for the third night.) There are only 31 rooms, so you are advised to book early.

2 Travelodge, Upton Way, Northampton NN5 4EG. £29 (room only) per night. If you book at this rate, no cancellations are allowed.

3 Hilton Hotel, Watering Lane, Collingtree, Northampton NN4 0XW. If you wait until late December, Hilton usually have a weekend break offer covering March. In past years, this has been about £109-£119 for two nights' bed and breakfast, plus dinner on the first night.

Please email me at for any further information, or call me on 07941 219207.

TO BOOK SUNNYSIDE 09 TICKETS, click the button below to pay by credit/debit card, or post a cheque, payable to Peaksoft, to 5 The Wick, 37 Esplanade Gardens, Scarborough, YO11 2AW. Tickets cost £10, plus £1 per order postage.