It is not easy to make Ennerdale feel crowded, but fans of Francis Dunnery almost managed it when they flocked over the West Cumbria from USA, Canada, Scandanavia, Germany, Italy and many partos the Britain to hear their hero sing with his band, Brand New It Bites at Whitehaven Civic Hall on 24th October and then take possession of Cumbria’s wildest and most remote lake the next morning. Together with Francis, his partner, Erica, his sister Fay, and niece, Charlie, they walked round the Lake, often along paths that were ankle deep in water after recent rains, marvelling at the stunning scenery which too mnay of us in Copeland take for granted.

We hope to publish a review of the gig in our next edition, but, accompanied by Dorie Jackson and guitarists Luke Machin and John Gilmour, Francis moved his fans to tears with old songs in fresh arrangements. He was joined on stage with It Bites current front man, John Mitchell, singing “Love will tear us apart again” and by his niece, Charlie McCracken, who sang and read poignant songs and poems of her own, a future star in her own name. The youngest of his fans was Lily from Frankfurt, whose mother Anke had fallen in love with Francis’s voice after hearing him sing at a house concert in Germany. Also hooked from their first house party were Sue Smith and her son Olly, from York. David Baalham comes from Ipswich, but has not missed Francis’s Cumbrian jaunts for seven years, and he was accompanied by his partner , Liz and Martina Kruus, from Sweden. Italy was repsresented by a really strong contingent, including Andrea and Benedetta, who know Ennerdale in all its moods.

Published in Egremont Today

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