Ukelele-playing OAPs hope for Top 40 hit!

HOPING FOR A HIT ... Hadrian Lodge ukulele players Del Thoburn, Everel Bramley and Olive Symington have designs on a charity chart success.
HOPING FOR A HIT ... Hadrian Lodge ukulele players Del Thoburn, Everel Bramley and Olive Symington have designs on a charity chart success.

LOOK out Little Mix and watch out One Direction - four South Tyneside pensioners have got designs on a Top 40 hit!

The residents at Anchor Housing’s Hadrian Lodge complex for older people in South Shields only formed their band last July.

But later this week they will record their part on a charity song – and have very high hopes for it.

Everel Bramley, 69, Olive Symington, 83, and Del Thorburn, 74, are to be recorded by students from Newcastle College at the John Marley Centre in Whickham on Friday.

A fourth band member, Lorna Robertson, 84, is in hospital and not expected to attend the recording session for the record – the title of which is being kept a secret.

The band’s segment will then be added to contributions from other older musicians across the country, under the banner of the Anchor Community Band, and mixed by a producer in London for release this summer.

All money raised from the single will go to Contact the Elderly, which organises monthly Sunday tea parties for older people who live alone.

Mrs Bramley decided to set up a band with fellow tenants after receiving cash from Anchor’s legacy fund for eight ukuleles and percussion instruments.

The grandmother learned to play the instrument at lessons organised by Equal Arts in Gateshead last May, and said: “Rehearsing with lots of older people living in other Anchor properties has been such an amazing experience.

“The song is very catchy. It’s also powerful, because the words are telling younger people we are exactly the same as them – just a bit older.”

Hadrian Lodge manager Jayne Riley said she was so proud of the four musicians because they had mastered their instruments in such a short time.

She said: “For the four tenants and the majority of the people in the Anchor Community Band, this will be their first time in a recording studio.

“Everel, Olive, Lorna and Del have worked so hard during rehearsals that I hope people of South Tyneside will support them by downloading or buying the record when it is released later this year.”

Following the release of the record, the quartet, which rehearses with other ukulele players at Whiteleas Community Centre every fortnight, plan to perform to residents in Anchor care homes across the region.

Steve Reay, course leader at Newcastle College’s Performance Academy, said: “It’s been a real privilege for our students to be able to help these older residents put together this charity song.

“It’s been really interesting to witness first-hand how music has the ability to bridge the age gap and bring people of all walks of life together.

“This project has given our students the chance to engage with and learn from people in the local community that perhaps they wouldn’t have done otherwise.

“We wish the finished song every success.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazpaul