Punk band Angelic Upstarts show their caring side by helping refugees

From left, Angelic Upstarts singer Thomas 'Mensi' Mensforth, longtime fans and friends Jordan and Jason Carroll and guitarist Neil Newton.
From left, Angelic Upstarts singer Thomas 'Mensi' Mensforth, longtime fans and friends Jordan and Jason Carroll and guitarist Neil Newton.

Punk rockers in South Tyneside are turning to their angelic side to help out refugees.

The Angelic Upstarts have organised a fundraising gig at the Alexandra Hotel in High Street, Jarrow, on Saturday night.

The Angelic Upstarts.

The Angelic Upstarts.

Fans are asked to either pay £10 for a ticket or to donate a bag of clothes and toiletries which can be used by those seeking refuge in camps such as the French port of Calais.

On Monday, September 28, the band’s singer Thomas ‘Mensi’ Mensforth and guitarist Neil Newton, from Hebburn, will then drive the donations to France, and beyond.

Mensi, from Simonside, South Shields, said: “I’ve been watching the crisis unfold and just thought ‘we have to do something’.

“There’s so many bigoted people out there that don’t seem to know the difference between a refugee and an immigrant, it’s terrible.

I just thought we have to do something.

Thomas Mensforth

“These are poor people who are fleeing for their lives, and even if we only manage to help one family, it will feel as though we’ve done our bit to help.”

The band, which was formed in South Shields in 1977, has already been swamped with donations.

On Saturday, the band - whose line-up is completed by Gaz Stoker on bass and Jonnie Halling on drums - played a show in London, and on the journey back to the North East had to divert to Manchester to pick up some donations.

They had been organised by Jason and Jordan Carroll, long-time fans and friends of the Upstarts, who had organised the collection.

Mensi had only posted the benefit gig plans on Facebook less than 24 hours earlier.

Any donations which can’t be fitted into Mensi’s van will be donated to the North East Solidarity with Calais Refugees.

Mensi said: “If you watch the news you tend to see more young men, that’s because they’re stronger and they go on ahead in the marches, leaving their families behind until they find accommodation.

“But we want to help the most vulnerable and needy. We’re going to look for those who need help the most.”

Mensi admits that his mission might surprise some people, as punks don’t always come across as soft and caring.

He added: “Punks do have a certain image, but there’s plenty of us who do have a heart.

“Anyway we’re still rebelling in a way, as we’re showing the system that we do care about these people and more needs to be done.

“We’re not listening to the propaganda.”

People are asked to turn up to the gig, which also features Crashed Out and Panic Report, from 6.30pm.

• Donations can also be dropped off at Neil ‘Blackbird’ Sims’ Body Art South Shields tattoo and piercing studio at 32 Dean Road, South Shields, or at The Black Bull, a well-known ‘punk pub’, at 2 Mulgrave Terrace, Gateshead.