Comic legend and top band crown Wigan festival
One of the world's greatest brass bands and a TV comedy legend will headline Wigan Youth Zone's fifth anniversary celebrations.
The birthday party, annual Reet Good Beer Festival and major fund-raiser for the charity climaxes at the Parson’s Walk site on Sunday, June 24 with an appearance by the Black Dyke Band and one of its biggest fans, Russ Abbot, who will MC the afternoon
Current national junior champions, the Pemberton Old Wigan DW Junior Brass Band will also appear at the spectacular - in a marquee at the club premises - beginning at 1pm.The festival is a major money-spinner for the Youth Zone and its 6,000 members who need Â£1.7m a year to keep it going.
Two weeks ago Bernard Edmunds, a board member of the club who is terminally ill, gave an impassioned interview to the Observer in which he admitted the organisation needed to raise its profile in order to attract more donations in the face of tough competition from other causes, people failing to realise it was a charity and others mistakenly thinking it is permanently bankrolled by three of the richest men in Wigan: Dave Whelan, Martin Ainscough and Bill Ainscough.
That trio of magnates did indeed get the project started in 2013 with Â£2m donations each, but they do not continue to subsidise it.
Wigan Council makes a sizeable annual contribution but the remainder of the money comes from modest subscriptions paid by young members, sponsorship by patrons including local businesses and fund-raising events such as the beer festival.
Ironically it was Mr Whelan who contacted the Observer to inform it of the concert.
He said: “This is a real coup. I know Russ Abbot because we both go to Barbados and have dinner together and he was up for the show.
"The band has agreed to come at quite a reduced rate which several people including me have agreed to pay for and that is so every penny raised by the Â£10 admission fee goes to the boys and girls’ club.”
The Reet Good Beer Festival runs from June 21 to 24. The Thursday (5pm to midnight) features a Northern Soul Night (Â£8); the Friday (7pm to midnight) features a Beatles Tribute Band (Â£10); the Saturday (noon to 6pm) is a Bavarian afternoon with umpah band (Â£10) followed in the evening (7pm to midnight) by Soul and Motown (Â£10).
Tickets can be purchased from the website www.reetgoodbeerfest.co.uk.
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