Six decades on, it’s time for the fi­nale

Southport Visiter - - Visiter Life - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@trin­i­tymir­ror.com @jamie_lopez1 Press­Reader.com +1 604 278 4604

ABELOVED South­port band who once sup­ported the Bea­tles will play their final gig this year.

The Sand­grounders are to mark their 60th birth­day with a spe­cial con­cert at The Atkin­son, Lord Street, be­fore hang­ing up their in­stru­ments for good on De­cem­ber 31.

Gor­don Hal­sall, the last re­main­ing orig­i­nal band mem­ber, has or­gan­ised the an­niver­sary show to cel­e­brate the land­mark.

The band have gained a loyal fan base over the past six decades, af­ter first start­ing their jour­ney by do­ing gigs at youth clubs and birth­day par­ties as two of the mem­bers were too young to play in li­censed premises.

But the group have en­joyed an un­de­ni­ably ex­cit­ing life on the road, sup­port­ing such stars of The Hol­lies, The Bea­tles and The Searchers in the 1960s.

Gor­don, who is a for­mer Me­ols Cop High School pupil, had re­tired af­ter the band cel­e­brated half a cen­tury to­gether, but ad­mit­ted it was only four weeks be­fore he was coaxed back on the road by the other mem­bers.

While he is the only orig­i­nal band mem­ber still in­volved, he has used the an­niver­sary con­cert as a chance to invite back for­mer mem­bers, and will be joined by a line-up which com­prises Paul Mullen, Eric Wain­wright, Keith Liv­ing­stone and Ramzi Mercher­gui.

Gor­don said: “Whilst all the artistes are look­ing for­ward to the event it is with much sad­ness that I an­nounce that the Sand­grounders band will be re­tir­ing for good on De­cem­ber 31 of this year.

“I think 60 years is far more than I could have wished for and con­sider my­self to be so very lucky to have achieved this.

“This has been down mainly to the sup­port and loy­alty of the fans of the band over the years. There has also been sup­port from some mem­bers of the band over the try­ing times ev­ery band has, but thank­fully we have sur­vived to tell the tale.”

The con­cert comes 10 years af­ter the band last per­formed at the venue, then known as South­port Art Cen­tre, and tick­ets are now avail­able for £15/£13 from The Atkin­son or by calling 01704 533333.

Through the years... top, the band in 1961; above and left, in 1962 and be­low, in full flow in 1964

Gor­don with Shad­ows mem­bers Hank Marvin (1994) and, inset, Jet Har­ris (1997)

The Sand­grounders line-up in 1997

Gor­don Hal­sall, the last orig­i­nal Sand­grounder

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