So many people told me
that this was the best Sunnyside event to date, and I have to
agree. Thanks for the friendship, the company, the support, and
the great entertainment.
The provisional total raised
by our annual weekend at the Sunnyside, Northampton, is £847, which
will be forwarded to Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool.
This includes £325 from the Friday and Saturday raffles, £205 from the
auction, £72 from the sale of CDs owned by the late Pauline Swindells,
and £38 from the sale of Laura's CDs.
Photographs by John Burke,
Cummings, Rob Dee
and Maureen Whitehouse. More pics would be appreciated.
Please email to email@example.com.
Other comments on the weekend are on the message
this was the last Sunnyside event, then it was a corker, to end what has
been a brilliant ride. Both Friday and Saturday evenings were packed
with some wonderful music, from an array of great artists. Add to that,
the friendliest group of people you could imagine, and you’ll get some
idea of just what Harry’s Baby has achieved.
For Judith and myself, the journey to Northampton was uneventful and our
Sat Nav (Gladys) directed us straight to the hotel. The first people we
met were our old friends, John & Mags Cummings, as we tried to sign
in for our rooms. The young lady behind the desk couldn’t find either
of our names on the booking sheets but a call to the manager soon sorted
things out. After a unpacking our case, we ventured back into the hotel
to find Rob & Chris Dee, Johnny Storme and his wife, Diane, Henry
Swindells, Katie and Alan, and Steven Sinclair, relaxing in the
“meeting room”. Rob sang us a couple of songs and then gave the
microphone to a new face, who, was introduced as Little Elvis. A few
more people turned up to chat, while Rob played us some 60’s music in
After a shower and change of clothes, Judith and I ate a hearty meal in
the carvery and then returned to a packed meeting room. I can’t
remember who was singing when we got there, but we sat in the company of
another Alan & his wife, Linda C & Sally, and Kenny & Rita
McIntyre. Later we were joined by John Stack and his wife. Various
people got up to sing a song or two to keep us entertained but, possibly
the most memorable was the return of Little Elvis, who sang a never to
be forgotten version of the Elvis classic, “One Night”. Other new
friends to take the stage included Dave Wilcox and Paul Ritchie, both
impressing us with their vocals. Unlike last year, when my nerves got
the better of me, as soon as Rob Dee asked me to sing, I was out of my
seat and heading for the microphone. I was going to start off with “24
Hours From Tulsa” but, for whatever reason, I heard myself telling Rob
that I was going to sing “I Only Want To Be With You”. That turned
out to be a good move because, from the off, I could see people singing
and clapping along. My second song was The Beatles’ hit “All My
Loving” and I really enjoyed singing that one. Creeping Bentgrass
played quite a number of songs in their inimitable style and towards the
end of the night Dean & Jane Hubert sang two great songs together.
Saturday greeted us with rain as we made our way across to the hotel for
breakfast. There were a few tired people in the hotel lounge that
morning, but Harry kept us smiling by providing Sounds of the Sixties on
main event at the Sunnyside was due to begin at 5pm, but some people
were there just after 1pm – obviously wanting to make sure of a good
seat. As with the previous night, Cathy and Jean were busy running the
raffle, while they were ably assisted by members of the Homan family.
Maureen manned the billyfury.com merchandise table, while both Billy fan
clubs sold various related items. Judith and I arrived a little after
4pm and I began to set up my guitar and music podium. We found good
seats, right at the front of the room, along with the McIntyre’s,
Lynda C, Sally, and Margaret Dewick.
Harry welcomed everyone to the Sunnyside, then it was up to my old
friend Dave Jay to compare, and introduce the first act of the night,
John Stack. Guitarist, John played a set of lesser known Billy songs,
warming the audience up with numbers such as “Am I Blue”. Everyone
was, then, surprised as Harry took the microphone again to announce the
arrival of a special guest, none other than Billy’s mum, Jean. It,
honestly, felt like royalty had arrived. Vic England, had driven Jean
from Liverpool to be with us and her arrival brought big smiles to many
Next up, was Paul Ritchie who stood in at the last minute for the ill
Roger Sea. Hailing from Birmingham, Paul treated us to songs
as “Ferry Cross the Mersey” and “Great Balls of Fire”. Dave
Wilcox was next to take to the stage and, although quite nervous,
managed to get everyone singing along to his rendition of “Nobody’s
Child”. I only met Snowy for the first time last year, but he’s got
quite a stage presence. The flowing locks and long dress coat give him
quite an appearance. Last year, he rocked things up a bit, but this
year, his set was more laid back, with songs such as “Everyday” and
“Tell Laura I Love Her”.
With Dave Jay managing the artists, and Colin Paul and Rob Dee mastering
the sound system, there was time for an extra artist to be added for one
song. The exuberant Little Elvis (aka Mark) bounded onto the stage to
sing his version of “Teddy Bear”. The only way to follow him was
with a class act, and that came in the shape of Dean Hubert. Judith and
I met up with Dean and Jane last year, and we’ve kept in contact ever
since. He has a smashing voice and included songs from his Billy show,
including “Last Night Was Made For Love” and “I Love How You Love
Me”. Singing for the first time in five years, was Laura, along with
her sister Emily. Nervous or not, the twosome soon got back into the
swing of things, entertaining us with a medley, plus Shakin’
Stevens’ “Give Me Your Heart Tonight”.
Dave Jay, missed last year’s event, but was back on form this time –
not only comparing, but – singing in his laid back style, songs like
“Penny Arcade”. Then it was my turn. I tell you, as an artist,
there’s nothing better than to see the audience singing along with
you, and that’s just what happened with “When My Little Girl Is
Smiling”. That gave me a lot of confidence and, by the time I was singing
my last song, “Daydream Believer”, I was having a ball. Thanks to
everyone who spoke to me afterwards commenting on my performance.
Dave and John, aka Creeping Bentgrass, took to the stage after me, and
treated us to some more hits from the sixties, such as “Every Time You
Walk Into the Room” and “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”. The duo
have a real easy listening style, and compliment each other well. That
meant, the final act before the raffle and auction was Rob Dee – Mr
Tribute Himself. I’ve known Rob for seven years now and a nicer fellow
you couldn’t wish to meet. When he goes on stage, his personality
comes through with ease, and fans of Billy were treated to “Cross My
Heart”, “Sleepless Nights”, “Play It Cool”, and “I Think
You’re Swell”, to name but a few.
he last new artist on this year’s list was Michelle Gibson. It was
nice to hear a female vocalist and, dressed in a lovely red dress, she
kept the party mood going with “I’m Hurt” and “Speak to Me
And, so, it was time for Colin Paul and the Persuaders to come to the
stage and play. Like Rob Dee, I’d first met Colin at Newark in 2003.
Because I’d previously seen him on stage in Blackpool a couple of
years earlier I was a little in awe of him but, within five minutes of
meeting him, he made me feel right at home. Colin and the band are
superb at what they do. Each musician knows exactly what they’re doing
and provided the perfect backing to Colin’s vocals. I’m not sure how
many songs they sang but they had people dancing from very early on with
their set of rock n roll numbers. During the break, Billy’s mum had
been presented with some flowers and she was very moved as she told us
how delighted she was to be with us all. Those gathered were even more
delighted when, at Colin’s request, Jean joined him on stage to sing
“In Thoughts Of You”. It was a very moving occasion and I’m sure
that there were a few tears being shed in the audience. And, just to
round things off, everyone joined in to sing “Happy Birthday” to
Jean who was 89 on the 25th.
To all the artists I’ve had the pleasure of performing with over the
years, it’s been great. To all the friends we’ve made, thank you for
being such good friends. To Harry, thank you for making it all possible.
And to Maureen……thank you for supporting Harry. Behind every
man…….. Here’s to the next time, whenever, wherever.
once again and thank you Harry for a superb weekend.
Those who sadly couldn't make it really missed out.
The Friday night at The Innkeepers Lodge was memorable - just like one
big family get together with some excellent artists who all entered into
the spirit of the occasion.
The Saturday show exceeded all expectations.
All the artists contributed superbly - Colin Paul's new line up was
absolutely superb & Rob Dee just gets better and better. It is fair
to say that most artists in clubland are influenced by Elvis and when
they perform Billy tracks you can hear that influence. However, Rob is
first and foremost a Billy fan and sings Billy's songs without the Elvis
overtones - well done Rob!
For my part it was such a relief that Laura (with kid sister Emily)
managed to perform so superbly after 5 years absence.
They put all of the harmonies together by themselves without any input
whatsoever from me.
Laura has had such a bad time with ill health and really deserves for
things to improve.
Thank you to everyone who gave Laura & Emily such a warm reception.
Burke (of Creeping Bentgrass) reports:
bundled keyboard, guitar, bag of cables, microphone stands into the car
boot and then took it all out again to get the suitcase in before
setting off to pick up David and Jeannie. All the stuff had to come out
again whilst we rearranged the jigsaw in the boot and then we were off,
throwing money with wild abandon and using the M6 toll road to save a
bit of time, then stopping at the services to use it up again... The
sandwiches we had brought from home went down better with a few chips
and then we were off again towards Northampton.
One of the first people we met was Dave Jay. We'd spoken on the phone
many moons ago but it was the first time we'd met. We found a few people
in the function room, but Harry was getting nervous as Rob was running
late and couldn't be contacted. He needn't have worried as Rob and Chris
had been sitting in the car listening to a horse called "A Thousand
Stars" romping home at 20 to 1!!! "I should have had money on
it!" said Rob.
We set up the gear and played a couple of songs to practice then Miss
Franny and Jeannie firmly grasped our ears and led us off to the
restaurant. Fed and watered we changed, David and I into matching red
shirts. "We look like we've had the operation to separate us and
are too tight to buy new shirts..." I said.
Harry had asked us to prepare an hour's set for the Friday night and we
sat watching the other artists, loving every minute, but hearing many of
the songs we had planned on singing. During one of the breaks I swapped
a few files about on the keyboard so we wouldn't play all duplicates!
Colin Paul sat next to us and said "I can't wait to hear you
two!" "Why?" I asked. "I've heard so much about
you!" he said. Well it isn't true Colin, it was an accident and
anyway we were miles away...
There were a few singers we hadn't heard before. Last year was our first
Sunnyside anyway, but this year we were impressed by the standards set
but when we came out the audience were nicely warmed up and immediately
started to sing along. Whether this was to drown us out or just because
they were enjoying themselves wasn't clear...
We played a somewhat eclectic mix... I'd bet no-one has ever played
Justin Hayward's Forever Autumn at Sunnyside before but it seemed to go
down well! Then we got into a run of Billy songs, When Will You Say I
Love You, Like I've Never Been Gone, Somebody Else's Girl, A Thousand
Stars, King For Tonight, and the first public airing of a new
arrangement of I'm Lost Without You.
At some point Rob Dee slapped a couple of wigs on our heads. By heck, I
came over all nostalgic... Looking at the photos we look complete prats,
but perhaps that's an improvement!
The following day we were at Sunnyside early and had lunch there. Very
good it was too. We set up the gear, did a sound check and then sat down
to enjoy the singers. Harry dropped the wonderful bombshell that Jean
Wycherley was here. We all stood to welcome here. Paul Ritchie had the
unenviable task of singing in front of her first, but handled it with
what appeared to be ease and confidence.
Our slot came closer and we got changed into black suits, black shirts
and sequinned cerise ties... The things I do... David and I went
together into the disabled toilet to get changed - God knows what anyone
outside might have thought, there was a great deal of hilarity ...
The ties looked as though our tongues were hanging out but across the
room Jean Wycherley had noticed us and gave me a nod of approval - or
perhaps she was laughing, I'm not sure...
There wasn't a single ropey act that evening and we were following Geoff
Howlett so we knew we had to be good. Well, perhaps next year then... We
played 4 Billys and a couple of other songs, David cracked a joke about
The Night Has 1000 Eyes being about speed cameras. Well that's because
late one night we were coming home from a gig at which he'd drunk a fair
amount of liquid and I had to stop so he could relieve himself at the
side of the road. I stopped next to a gatso and was dying for a speeding
car to come past but... alas. Heh heh!
6 songs, 20 minutes, it is amazing how fast that goes. We came off and
enjoyed the last few acts.
What a superb headlining act in Colin Paul and The Persuaders. Total
class. Jean sang In Thoughts of You, Jean Todd, Cathy and Jan grabbed me
for a dance. We had an absolute ball.
Others have said what a great weekend it was and I absolutely agree.
Ours wasn't over yet because once we got back to the hotel we ended up
all four of us in our bedroom with a huge bag of chocolate and a bottle
of cava plus the remains of a bottle of wine that Miss Franny and
Jeannie had been glugging all night. It still had some in because it
wasn't the first...
David half opened the bottle of bubbly then stood it on the window sill
whilst he helped jeannie take her boots off. Whilst this was going on
the cork shot from the bottle with a sound louder than a sonic boom. It
was gone midnight so sorry anyone who thought their time had come...
Have I already said this? A brilliant weekend with friends old and new
and some excellent entertainment.
Colin Paul writes:
Hi, i have to agree with everyone. this
was something special. i personally would like to thank all the artiste
who were involved. its you that made it special along with the many fans
that turned up. Harry my friend we owe you so much. your a true gent and
a star.well done on another fantastic event at the sunnyside. a big
thanks to maureen too. chris eley and linda it was as always great to
see you and i look forward to seeing you soon at mill hill. ken and
cecilia it was great to catch up with you too. vic and jenny as always a
pleasure to be in your company, and im excited about the afternoon in
liverpool on billys
birthday. i would also like to thank vic for driving to liverpool to
bring along the wonderful jean wycherley. wasnt that special? mags and
john cummings, as always great to see you both too. thanks to cathy
homan and company for the raffles ect. brilliant job. sorry pierre,paul
and roger couldnt make it. you were missed. a very special thank you to
jon stack [first act of the evening with his guitar and wonderful choice
of songs] Creeping Bentgrass, [fun duo with a superb act]. Rob Dee, [a
true professional and good friend..chris too] thanks also to rob for his
great set/mc on the friday evening at the innkeepers lodge along with
creeping bentgrass [what a great name]. Michelle Gibson, [brilliant job
michelle. ps love your vertion of hurt] Geoff Howlett [brilliant
musician/songwriter and a great act] Dean Hubert [fantastic voice and
great choice of songs] Dave Jay (MC) [another great singer and fantastic
mc for the evening] Snowy [great act with loads of confidence and loads
of hair] Paul Ritchie [fantastic set of songs mate and a great voice
too] Dave Wilcox [talented guy and good friend. keep up the great work]
it was a real pleasure to catch up with Johnny Storme this weekend.
although johnny didnt sing [unfortunatly] it great to have him in our
company. [top rock 'n' roller and another true gent/professional] also a
big thanks to singer/songwriter Steven Sinclair for entertaining us on
the friday evening aong with some of the fore mentioned acts. what can i
say about mark [little elvis] [glad you enjoyed the wkd mark and thanks
for entertaining us as only you can. what a [little] guy] lol. so nice
to see henri swindells paulines husband.[ you too made it special by
your appearence] in honour of the lovely much missed pauline. a nice
suprise was the appearence of laura and emily [sounding better than ever
and i must say some of the best harmonies i have ever heared. well done
girls and welcome back. you have been missed].a big thanks to kevin
somerfield. i must at this point just say its great to see a lot of
younger people [artiste/audience] at these events. these are the next
generation of billy fury fans and i applaude them. a very special thanks
to my band the persuaders. when we were asked to be part of this event i
was over the moon, but the next step was to figure out what we would be
playing. i didnt want to repeat many fury songs [ i know you wouldnt
have minded] that had been done during the course of the evening. so
without a set list i just played it by ear and shouted out to the guys
what were were doing next. also after speaking with harry and deciding
on a good set of rock n roll and every other song a few billy numbers.
we couldnt lose. although i did repeat a few it was nice to include
those numbers that hadnt been played today. my point being the billy
fury songs are not the easiest songs to learn with so many chords and
you have to remember that when billy performed them he had a full
orchestra behind him. so congratulations to the persuaders...
[joe peden - guitar. chris evans - bass. dave lea - keyboards and peter
thomas drums. for a great true sound. i think the highlight for me was
when i invited jean up to sing a duet on in thoughts of you. she kindly
agreed. [happy birthday for yesterday jean from all of us x] when she
started to sing i just left her to it. as i said on the night. we now
know where billy got his voice from. fantastic. it was only fitting that
i dedicated 'thats alright mama' to her as billy did when they were both
last here. we dedicated a song [helpless] for billys brother albie, as
he was unable to make it due to ill health. get well soon albie. we miss
you. it was decided that the last song [almost the last song] should be
halfway to paradise and rightly so. the whole audience and acts were
sing along. it was great to see and hear. as the evening came to a close
we decided to do a little more. it was a great couple of days and i
truly hope we can do this again.
i think as with many billy fury events this is where friends for life
thank you all.
ps... if i have missed anybody i am truly sorry and i thank you now.
Billy Fury on stage at the
Sunnyside, October 1982
19th-21st March 2010
Performers confirmed to date
Colin Paul and the
and in alphabetical order
Pierre Petrou (MC)
Bentgrass headline the Friday night show)
The immediate threat to the Sunnyside has
been lifted, as the deal to sell it and develop the site for housing has
The enthusiastic new manager at the
Sunnyside is keen to support us in any way he can.
Next year, the large double doors
separating the performance area from the main bar will be pulled back
for the first time, and in the evening, the bar area will be exclusively
for the use of Fury fans.
Casual pub-goers will use a reserved area
away from our event.
This will probably mean that the kitchens
will not be in use, and there are plans to provide food from a barbecue.
Reservations made for rooms at the Innkeepers Lodge, Northampton
East (our main base), for the weekend, and at Innkeepers Lodge,
Northampton M1 (our back-up hotel). Anyone reserving a room at the
M1 hotel will be on back-up for Northampton East. Other popular
hotels in the area are the Travelodge and the Hilton. Room rate (bed and breakfast) at the Innkeepers Lodge
TOTAL per room for three nights (ie about per night on Friday and
Saturday, with Sunday free of charge).
If unforeseen problems arise with
event will be held at Overstone Manor, the pub now run by the
Sunnyside's previous manager, Marie Yates.
On Saturday afternoon and evening, Marie will close the pub to anyone except ticket
holders, so we will have it entirely to ourselves.
four photographs are all of Overstone
We have block-booked the rooms at the
Innkeepers Lodge, Northampton East, where the Friday night session will
again be held.
The total cost will be £81.65 per room
for three nights' bed and breakfast. An evening carvery meal currently
costs £5-£7.50, depending on when you are seated. The rate
includes a free stay on Sunday night, so there is no discount if you
choose to stay only for two nights.
There are 31 rooms at the Northampton
East site, of which all
are currently reserved. I am
now taking bookings for the hotel's sister site in Northampton, and anyone who books for that location will be on standby for Northampton
East, if they wish. Please email me if you wish to reserve a
room. You need make no payment now, but rooms will be reserved
only for those who buy show tickets.
The Hilton Hotel in Northampton
currently has a very good deal, and the Travelodge is always in
demand because of its very low rates.