Musicians lined up for fundraising concert in Hooton Roberts

PERFORMERS are fine-tuning their preparations ahead of a concert to raise vital funds for a church in a village with a highly-respected music heritage.
Marilyn SmithMarilyn Smith
Marilyn Smith

The gig – billed as folk, roots, blues and Americana – at St John’s in Hooton Roberts aims to help preserve the building as a community asset.

The event is billed as “pay what you can” – with a suggested donation of £10 for adults in the hope of safeguarding the church’s future.

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It has been organised by Jonti Willis following his chance meeting last year with Liza Nash, a member of the Hooton Roberts parish meet and the village’s parochial church council, at a recording of Songs of Praise.

Howard JohnsonHoward Johnson
Howard Johnson

Among those performing at the show on Sunday, April 14, will be The Friends – Marilyn Smith, Howard Johnson, Colin Timms, Harold Sykes and John Hessian, who

Professional musician Marilyn – mum of actress and singer Sheridan Smith – previously played bass with late husband Colin in The Daltons. Howard (keyboard and guitar), Colin (bass) and John (lead guitar) are members of country rock band Eddie and Friends, as well being residents at the Doncaster Country Music Club with The Dalton Johns Band.

Harold is lead singer of covers group Rewind and is a regular guest singer with the Dalton

Johns and Eddie & Friends.

Matthew D FergusonMatthew D Ferguson
Matthew D Ferguson
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Band leader Howard said: “It’s a delight to support Jonti Willis in his efforts to raise funds for the Church in Hooton Roberts. At our age you never know when we might be needing a venue for that final gig.”

Also playing will be Ian Mather, who started at Worksop Folk Club as a teenager and now helps run a similar group in Epworth. He is part of Doncaster Roots Music Club, alternating as compere and sound engineer.

He plays both traditional ballads and a few of his own songs and recently released an album Ballads with violinist Dave Allison.

“As a session musician he has played on many albums as a guitarist, mandolin player and, in his early years, as a fiddle player.

Ian MatherIan Mather
Ian Mather
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Conisbrough based singer and guitarist Matthew D Ferguson is also on the bill for next weekend. He is known for playing electric but will be entertaining the St John’s church audience with a selection of well-known and self penned songs on acoustic guitar.

Hooton Roberts inspired composer Ralph Vaughan Williams during his summer visits there, and it is believed he wrote Linden Lea while staying at the rectory in 1902. The village held a ten-day festival in 1972 to mark the centenary of William’s birth.

The ancient church in Hooton Roberts was originally built by the Normans just after 1100. In 1895, during works to the chancel floor, the bones of a man and two women were found. It was noticed that the male skeleton had a severed vertebrae in the neck, leading to the thought that Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford. had in fact been secretly buried there, with his wife and daughter Margaret both later laid to rest alongside him.

The church concert takes place from 1pm to 3.30pm, with a gathering at the Earl of Strafford next door afterwards.

Later this month, the Steel City Choristers will perform at the church’s Evensong at 4pm on Sunday, April 28.

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