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Rock star lends his support to hospice
SWINDON’S most famous rock star has donated a signed Fender Telecaster to a charity night.
Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues also sent a personal donation of £250 to the organisers of the Majestic Dance Night, who are fellow veterans of early Swindon rock’n’roll.
The dance night, in aid of the Prospect Hospice, has raised more than £70,000 over the past 12 years and takes its name from the old Majestic Ballroom in Milton Road, which was the cradle of the Swindon rock scene before its closure in 1961.
This year’s dance night is on Saturday at Stratton Leisure Centre in Grange Drive. The entertainment will include a band called Rockers Reunited, all of whose members played in early Swindon groups.
Bass player and Prospect committee member Nigel Norman said: “The band is made up of six musicians who played in the most popular local rock’n’roll bands in Swindon in the late fifties and early sixties.
“Performing two one-hour sets, they will only play pop/rock hits from the period 1958 to 1963 to be true to the Majestic dance theme.
“This promises to be a unique performance that is sure to raise a lot of interest around town and ensure a good audience on the night.”
Another veteran of that scene is Justin Hayward, who grew up in Old Town and found global fame with The Moody Blues, whose biggest hit was Nights in White Satin. Justin also played a major role in Jeff Wayne’s superselling concept album based on HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds, and even holds the bizarre distinction of being the only Swindonian seen in an episode of The Simpsons.
It was initially hoped that Justin would appear on Saturday but other commitments got in the way so he made the donations instead. The Fender Telecaster will be sold on eBay to maximise revenue for the hospice.
Between them, the members of Rockers Reunited were involved with 15 of the most popular local rock ‘n’ roll bands in the early Sixties. Apart from Nigel, the band are Geoff Exton on keyboards, Keith Hart on lead guitar and vocals, Dave King on vocals, Neil Pike on rhythm guitar and Dave Prosser on drums.
Nigel, who played alongside Justin in Swindon band The Whispers, said: “With an average age of 69 and several members who hadn’t been involved in performing for many years, we knew it was going to be a real challenge.”
Also performing on the night will be well-known local group The Les Bruce Big Band.
The dance night will run from 7.30pm until midnight, and tickets cost £12.50 for adults and £10 for children (15 years or older only). They can be obtained from Stratton Leisure Centre (call 01793 825525) or by emailing Debbie Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details are at www.majesticdance.org.uk