It’s an all-star line-up which has never been seen before in Cumbria – or anywhere else.

Chris Difford from Squeeze, Phil Campbell from Motorhead and James Sonefeld from Hootie and the Blowfish are the illustrious bandmates coming together in aid of ex-It Bites star Francis Dunnery’s Cumbrian children’s charity.

Every year Francis hosts a fundraising weekend in his hometown of Egremont for the Charlie and Kathleen Dunnery Children’s Fund; the charity for west Cumbrian children which he set up in memory of his parents.

This year Francis has attracted an impressive selection of celebrity friends for the weekend of October 24-26, which features a dinner / jam session at the Summergrove Hotel and an all-star concert at Egremont Market Hall.

Other famous faces include BAFTA-winning actor Paul Riley from Scottish comedy series Still Game. Francis has worked with the musicians before while Paul is a fan of his music.

“Most of the guys are there for the full weekend,” says Francis. “We are trying to figure out which songs they want to play on and which instruments they will play. I’m looking forward to jamming with them and I think it will be a cool thing for an audience. We have people coming from all over America, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.”

During his time with Squeeze, Chris Difford co-wrote some of the best-loved songs of the past 30 years. The band’s six top 20 singles include Cool For Cats and Up the Junction.

James Sonefeld is drummer with Hootie and the Blowfish, who shot to fame in the mid-90s with their debut album Cracked Rear View. This has gone platinum 16 times in their native US, spawning anthems like Hold My Hand, Let Her Cry and Only Wanna Be with You.

Phil Campbell has been Motorhead’s lead guitarist since 1984, helping cement their reputation as one of Britain’s most compelling rock bands.

Francis Dunnery had chart success in the 1980s with It Bites and has since enjoyed an acclaimed solo career. He founded the Charlie and Kathleen Dunnery Children’s Fund in 2002 and it has raised about £50,000.

The Summergrove Hotel event is sold out but a few tickets are available for Saturday’s concert at Egremont Market Hall.

Francis plays the Market Hall again on Sunday night. This concert is not a charity event but some of the celebrity guests may be appearing. Tickets are available.

The charity weekend also includes a Saturday golf competition at Seascale Golf Club and a sponsored walk around Ennerdale Lake on Sunday.

For full details of all events and to book places visit www.ckdcf.org

PUBLISHED October 10, 2008
Published in Times & Star