Four-bar blues – band play four gigs in a day to support Sue Ryder hospice

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Two musicians pulled out all the stops to put on four gigs at four Bedford pubs in one day, raising just over £2,000 for their local hospice.

Acoustic rock and pop band Woody & Walsh, aka Mark Walsh, from Willington, and Darren Woodhall who hails from Bedford and now lives near Stony Stratford, were inspired to take on the tuneful fundraiser in support of Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.

They played energetic sets of around an hour at The Five Bells at Cople, The Three Cups in Bedford and The Bluebell in Bedford. Their fourth and final gig of the day, at The Smiths Arms in Kempston, saw them play for nearly two hours.

With the help of the team at The Smiths Arms, the kind-hearted pair – who have played guitar together since they were friends at school – also organised a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses, including meal vouchers.

One highlight of their musical marathon was performing a special song at each of the gigs, dedicated to the hard-working doctors, nurses and staff at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger.

They re-wrote the words of ‘All the reasons’, a Status Quo song they cover, in tribute to the “amazing care” the hospice gives to patients and their families.

The hospice provides compassionate palliative care for people with life-limiting conditions, as well as supporting their loved ones.

The song lyrics included: “When that time is nearing, that no-one wants to share, it’s down to your love and compassion, you don’t despair”“We’ll always be grateful for the selfless things you do” and “You’re just like angels from heaven, you make us burst with pride, there are no words to thank you for being by our side.”

Mark Walsh said: “We like to help people and have performed for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice before, but since the pandemic started last year we haven’t been able to. So we decided to do something to try and raise both spirits and money. Woody text me one night and said ‘Let’s do four pubs in one day and see how much money we can raise for St John’s’.

“We spoke to the four pubs, who right from the word go were very supportive. It was then a case of sorting out timings and logistics – and seeing if we could play songs over and over again! There were a couple that we played more than once; by the end of the evening we couldn’t remember what we were playing! Woody pulled a blinder – if anything he got better and better as the day went on!

“It was a really busy day but the support we received was fantastic. A huge thank you to the staff at the four pubs who helped us to pull it all off. The atmosphere was brilliant. Some people came to watch us at a couple of the gigs – and a few even came to all four of them.”

Ellie Burke, Community Fundraiser at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice said: “Thank you so much to Woody & Walsh for hitting the high notes and performing four fantastic gigs in one day in support of our hospice. We are blown away by their amazing support, energy and dedication. A special thank you to everyone from the four pubs who were involved with this special fundraiser – The Five Bells, The Three Cups, The Bluebell and The Smiths Arms. The £2,034 raised will help to ensure we can continue to be there when it matters for local families and help to fill someone’s last days with love.”

You can support Woody & Walsh through JustGiving: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/woodyandwalsh and follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/woodyandwalsh

Find out more about Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice at sueryder.org/stjohns