Fleetwood Homecoming concert

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As if any Alfie Boe fan could forget, his homecoming concert in Fleetwood on 2 June was spectacular and a one off.

Not only was it special for the obvious reason of seeing Alfie perform (photo, Annie Lloyd) in his home town but it was also a major fundraiser for Alfie’s local charity, Trinity and Brian House Hospices.

As well as £2 from each ticket sale going directly to the charity, there were also several large donations on the night plus £2,700 in bucket collections.  It has now been revealed that the amount raised through ticket sales alone was £16,382, making a grand total of £22,082 – enough to fund a whole week at the children’s hospice, Brian House.  Well done everyone – that’s amazing!

Brian House is on the same site as Trinity. With space for four children as in-patients, the service supports over eighty families in total, meeting complex needs, providing support for the family and care for children who will not be cured of their illness. Respite care, which is provided at regular intervals, gives families the opportunity to experience times of relief and normality. When a child’s life is limited it puts enormous pressure on every member of the family as they try to cope with the emotional, practical and financial implications. It can be really hard for brothers and sisters too, so for all the family, Brian House is a support mechanism. This support continues even when the service is no longer required as each child that passes away is named on the memory tree; many families find comfort in being able to return to see their child’s name. I was lucky enough to look around before the Fleetwood concert and I have to say that it’s an amazing place. The kitchen is a hive of activity and with its sweet shop colour theme and giant marshmallow decorations looks good enough to eat! Each of the four bedrooms has a theme, with one specially designed for teenagers. The lounge areas are spacious enough for group music therapy (beds can be accommodated), and for informal play and relaxation. The sensory room and corridor are an adventure of colour, light and sounds and the sound I could hear coming down the corridor was chat and laughter from children and adults alike.

Although a week’s funding from one event is wonderful, Trinity and Brian House need to continue providing help to the local community and so the fundraising never ends.  If you would like to join the next fan fundraiser, then your luck is in because thoughtsofjustafan’s annual Alfie Boe YouTube Marathon is taking place over the weekend of 11 and 12 August.  For a fun weekend of watching your favourite Alfie Boe videos whilst donating to Trinity, click here to join the Facebook event.  If you don’t have Facebook, never fear, click here to donate anyway. All who participate in the marathon will be eligible to win a signed Trinity hoodie!

 

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Just over a week ago, I had the privilege of bring in the audience at Alfie Boe’s homecoming concert in Fleetwood and it was the best concert experience of my life.  Not only the fabulous singing and music from Alfie’s band but the unique atmosphere and mutual love between Alfie and Fleetwood made it such a special experience and one that anyone who was there will never forget (photo: Annie Lloyd).

When Alfie announced this concert last year, he also announced that £2 from each ticket bought would go directly to the local Fylde Coast hospice, Trinity, of which Alfie is a proud patron.  Alfie has spearheaded many fundraising initiatives over the years, resulting in donations coming in from all four corners of the world – one of the most successful was the Alfie Boe YouTubeathon last year, something that we hope to repeat this summer.

Since the concert, it has been announced that sales from tickets have funded a full week of care at Brian House, the children’s hospice on the same site as Trinity.  With space for four children as in-patients, the service supports over eighty families in total, meeting complex needs, providing support for the family and care for children who will not be cured of their illness.  Respite care, which is provided at regular intervals, gives families the opportunity to experience times of relief and normality. When a child’s life is limited it puts enormous pressure on every member of the family as they try to cope with the emotional, practical and financial implications. It can be really hard for brothers and sisters too, so for all the family, Brian House is a support mechanism. This support continues even when the service is no longer required as each child that passes away is named on the memory tree; many families find comfort in being able to return to see their child’s name.

I was lucky enough to be given a tour by Rebecca Ferguson, External Communications Manager and I have to say that it’s an amazing place. The kitchen is a hive of activity and with its sweet shop colour theme and giant marshmallow decorations looks good enough to eat! Each of the four bedrooms has a theme, with one specially designed for teenagers. The lounge areas are spacious enough for group music therapy (beds can be accommodated), and for informal play and relaxation. The sensory room and corridor are an adventure of colour, light and sounds and the sound I could hear coming down the corridor was chat and laughter from children and adults alike.  Here is Rebecca (left)with senior fundraiser Janet Atkins, handing over a card made by Brian House users, (photo Darren Nelson).

Rebecca was also on duty at the Fleetwood concert, along with many volunteers who collected money from concert goers.  The total from these buckets (separate from the ticket sales) was £2,700 and another £3,000 was donated by two very generous local people as well.  If you would like to make a donation yourself, please click here.

Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket or has donated – every penny is used in the excellent palliative care at Trinity and Brian House.

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Wow, what a night we had in Fleetwood on Saturday! Before I’ve even started this review, I’ve run out of superlatives – Alfie was on phenomenal form, holding the audience in the palm of his hand from beginning to end and basking in the love shown to him by the town, love that was clearly reciprocated.

Throwing in songs that spanned Alfie’s most recent albums (Serenata, Trust, Classic Quad, Together and Together Again) and a selection of songs Alfie clearly loves, this felt like a very personal set list – there wasn’t one song that didn’t work.  Opening with Sing, Sing, Sing from his new swing album (November 2018), Alfie demonstrated a mastery of yet another musical genre:

Paolo Nutini’s Pencil Full of Lead was just one of several new songs we heard, along with Ophelia, Wichita Lineman, Islands in the Stream, with backing singer Tor (loved this one), Queen’s Spread Your Wings and Pinball Wizard / See Me Feel Me medley from The Who’s Tommy.  Would have liked to hear Pinball Wizard all the way through – even better, I’d like to hear Alfie singing this with the Kaiser Chiefs, who, to my mind, do the best live cover of this. Click here to see more videos from Linda Wellington and Annie Lloyd.

As always, the band were amazing, with Murray, Dan and Tonksy being joined by Pete on guitar and Nigel on keyboards.  Backing singer Tor has also been with Alfie before, on the Together tours and the brass section were magnificent:

The addition of Pete seems to indicate that playing guitar for Alfie necessitates a lot of hair (Dan on bass needs to step into line) but both Pete and Nigel slotted right into the band whilst also bringing something new into the dynamic.  With only these few concerts lined up, let’s hope that we see more of Pete and Nigel in the future.

The song choice was weighted heavily in favour of those that could be danced to but of course Alfie found time for Bring Him Home, or Bring It Home as he said a lot of people call it (I once sat next to someone , in Blackpool of all places, who said I think he sings a song called Take Me Home – perhaps she was wishfully thinking!), preceded by the song he sang on Britain’s Got Talent, The Way You Look Tonight.  Both were outstanding, accompanied by one of the brass section and Murray, respectively; Alfie stayed in the Bring Him Home bubble a lot longer than usual and was clearly moved when he saw the audience reaction.

To the crowd’s evident delight, the second half started with Alfie and the band taking to the stage with the new Fleetwood Town FC strip, personalised in each case and as he did throughout the evening, did a shout out for Trinity Hospice, who were out in force with collection buckets.  Alfie is their patron and if you weren’t able to attend the concert itself, click here to see the excellent work they do.

When this homecoming concert was first announced it was clear that it would be a concert like no other and not to be missed.  Alfie singing in Blackpool is something special but Fleetwood is in a category of it’s own.  Throw in Jimmy watching from his upstairs window and Alfie’s Aunty Eileen almost stealing the show and you have the perfect evening.  Alfie thought so, asking “why haven’t I done this before, it’s great” and declaring that he definitely wanted to return and do it again – the roar of appreciation as he said this indicates there’ll be a ready and willing audience.  He was having such a great time, when it was finished (latest concert ever at 11.30!) he then popped into Highbury social club for a dance!  He’s come a long way from the Marine Hall.

On a personal note, it was lovely to see so many fans and special thanks to those who found time to say hello, much appreciated.  Wouldn’t have been the same without seeing so many friends, Paul and Pauline, Jennifer, Donna, Chelley, Linda Evans, Sonia, Pat and Janet, Carole, Karen, Jean, Nancy, Marj, Andrea, Carole and Eric, Jayne and Linda W (thanks for the videos).  Sue, Pauline, Roberta, Annie, Angie and Cecelia, not to mention my bestie Linda A made a fabulous night even more special with a great after party that went on into the wee small hours!

Before I go, can I ask a favour for Alfie and Michael?  They have made it to the shortlist for Album of the Year at the Classic BRITS and need your vote – please click here (UK voters only) to vote – thank you!

 

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As we know, Alfie is a long standing patron of Blackpool’s Trinity Hospice and Brian House, the children’s hospice located on the same site.  Alfie has spearheaded a number of fundraising initiatives for the hospice over the years and the latest is Pay For A Day, highlighting the daily running costs.

Alfie says

Brian House is a lifeline for many families in our community – it is a privilege to support such vital work for these children. I was born in Blackpool and grew up in Fleetwood. I know how important the sense of community is to everyone in our part of the world – and how our coastal location makes it so important to have good, strong resources for local people to call upon.  That’s why I’m so proud to be a Patron of Brian House, part of Trinity Hospice. They’re right at the heart of the Fylde coast community, delivering the very best care to life-limited children whose families are going through unimaginably hard times.

In an attempt to do my part, I’m thrilled that a donation from every ticket sold for my ‘homecoming’ concert in Fleetwood this summer will go to our local hospice – enough to pay for a whole day at Brian House, and much more.

It’s hard to imagine the rollercoaster of emotion that the family of a life-limited child must experience and I urge the community to get behind Brian House in order to help them provide the type of care we would all hope for.  Pay for a Day is a brilliant idea. It doesn’t matter how you give or raise the money, whether it’s something you do on your own, or a way for you and your family to come together and achieve something amazing. If you Pay for a Day, you’ll be funding expert care for kids living just up the road from you!

Please, join me in supporting Brian House. I know it’s a place full of happiness, music and laughter, as staff work hard to ensure the most fragile youngsters in the Fylde coast area can make the most of every day.

Alfie mentions here that a donation from each ticket sold for his Fleetwood concert on 2 June will go to the hospice so if you haven’t yet bought a ticket or have and want to encourage everyone else to go, click here for tickets.  Hopefully it will be good weather, but if not, the one thing I can guarantee is a fabulous performance from Alfie.

Fans will be doing our bit over the summer –  last year, we held a two day YouTube marathon and raised over £500! We had so much fun, we’re going to do it all over again! Watch this space for the date to be announced! If you would like to donate before then, click here.

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After the nominations and the voting, now we find out which Alfie Boe live song the fans have chosen as their favourite – or rather, we find out in ten weeks!  Coincidentally, by the time we have counted down in reverse order, Alfie’s Fleetwood Homecoming concert will almost be upon us.  Looking forward to it everyone?  I know I’m not the only one with a habit of wishing away their lives in anticipation of the next Alfie concert!  If you’ve not got a ticket yet, click here.

The song in at number ten this year is a song that returns to the top ten after a year long gap, having previously been voted in at numbers three (2014) and seven (2016).  From Serenata, here is Buona Sera:

Written by Peter de Rose and Carl Sigman (Sigman also wrote the lyrics to the English version of Arrivederci Roma), most people will be familiar with the Dean Martin version:

However, the song was first recorded by Louis Prima. Prima was a big band, swing singer of the mid twentieth century and Buona Sera was one of a long line of hits. Incidentally, Prima is the voice of King Louis in Disney’s The Jungle Book.

Serenata is available here:

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plus 4 exclusive photos, a welcome message from Alfie

and an exclusive interview!

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