General News

March 2020 News Update

June Rolf

R.I.P June Rolf

On Feb 1st Hilary and I attended a surprise 70th birthday party at a pub in Rochester Kent. The event had been meticulously planned in conjunction with Sue Holton over many months.

The lady who wanted to create this surprise for her husband Trevor was a lovely woman called June Rolf. It had been my privilege previously to play at her husband Trevor's 65th party.

The plan that June had in mind was a surprise party and a commissioned piece of music to be played to Trev on the night along with a CD recording of the piece. Everything had gone beautifully to plan. I had composed what I thought was the perfect piece for the occasion. The brief I had been given was something in the style of On Camber Sands. Something ethereal with the delay effect. The piece in question was STARFIELD a piece that has had an immediate impact on all who have heard it.

Hilary and I travelled down on the Friday in readiness for the big day on the Saturday. Instructions were given for us to arrive at the pub around 4-30 to set up and sound check in preparation for Trev and June to arrive at 7 pm. In fact they arrived at 7-15. Obviously when the birthday boy walked through the door followed by June he was completely gobsmacked and on seeing me his face lit up. June spoke to me on their arrival and asked if he had seen me, I assured her he had. After the surprise subsided June turned to me and said that it had been very stressful for her trying to keep the whole thing a surprise. It was then that Sue Holton came across and said "hi" to June. Sue and Mike had been invited and with them living about an hour from Rochester it made a lot of sense for them to be a part of the evening bearing in mind how close Sue had worked closely with June to make the event a success.

After Sue's brief exchange with June, June said that she needed to step outside to get some air. It was then that the dear lady collapsed to the floor. It was hard to believe this was all happening before our very eyes. The emergency services were called and in the meantime they gave phone instructions on how to administer CPR until the paramedics arrived along with the police. Within five minutes they arrived. On their arrival all the guests were asked to leave the room and gather in the adjoining bar. The paramedics did their very best for at least half an hour. Sadly to no avail. They couldn't save her!

I don't need to paint a picture of the shock and disbelief that ran through the whole building. Two hours passed and I needed to get back into the bar to turn off my equipment and slowly pack away my guitars. As I entered the room where June still lay, Trev approached me and we embraced. There were no words of comfort from me and as I walked across to switch off my equipment and pack my guitars Trev came up to me and asked me if I could play a piece for June. I set my jaw and played Starfield to June and family. I hope to God I don't have to do anything like this again, but deep in my heart I felt it was the right thing to do, in fact a privilege to do. I like to think it brought a tiny tiny piece of comfort for the poor family and maybe, just maybe her spirit was present to hear the piece she had commissioned for her beloved Trevor, and maybe it helped her spirit to ascend.

Even as I write this I'm still (as we all are) trying to come to terms with what happened.

Sadly I didn't know June or Trev apart from that first gig five years. But everything about the woman just screamed of an incredible kind, compassionate and loving person who did her utmost to show her unconditional love for her husband. What greater gift can you give someone you love but a beautiful memory to carry you through the years ahead. Sadly this was denied the Rolf family and our hearts go out to Trevor and daughter Kelly and the rest of the family.

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The Happy couple from 5 years ago, see how much Trev and I look alike. We could be brothers!

It was a heart-breaking evening but the blessing if there is one is that the dear lady passed quickly and painlessly, a way we would all like to go. I believe that June was an angel of a person and what better way to depart this life than surrounded by your friends and loved ones.

Starfield will forever be Trevor's tune and when it finally takes its place on an album, full credit and dedication will be given to the memory of this beautiful person that was June Rolf; wife, mother and friend. Rest in peace dear June, you were so special and will forever be remembered in the lives of all who knew you.

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Choir Recording day Feb 22

On Saturday February 22nd at Barnt Green Baptist Church the newly formed hospital choir drawn from the four main Birmingham hospitals assembled to record the song specially composed by Carrie Martin for the choir charity CD that has been in planning for some time now and I'm really pleased to say that at long last it has come to fruition!

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The team included our choirmaster Helen Clayton, sound engineer Paul White along with his friend and assistant Hugh, Cathryn Worth the hospital charities main fund raiser, Carrie Martin the composer of the song to be recorded YOU MAKE ME BELIEVE and of course yours truly who created the arrangements and recorded the guitar parts.

For me the whole morning was a very emotional affair that through sheer determination on everyone's part had lead us to this special day. Each and every member of that choir gave everything they had to make sure they did justice to Carrie Martin's wonderful song. My thanks must go to Oliver Wakeman for his superb piano and string/orchestral arrangement that will sound stunning once the whole thing has been finally mixed.

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My heartfelt thanks go to all the above mentioned but mainly to each and every remarkable member of the choir. We are proud of you. There will be lots of news in the future about the tracks progress. Just bass guitar to be added and then it's into Paul White's Malvern studio to complete the whole thing. I shall be adding an instrumental called The Work of Angels to round off the two track package.

A day to remember.

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Woman Review

Here's a nice review of the WOMAN ALBUM.

Huntingdon Hall

Over the years I have played at this venue more times than I can remember, and to a degree it has become a sort of spiritual home having filmed my first ever performance DVD there. Last year my special guest was Nick Hooper and this year it was Carrie Martin and Adam Parrish.

It's always a privilege to have our dear pal Carrie open for me. She is a wonderful creative force but still struggles to get gigs and the chances of her playing at relatively major venues like Huntingdon Hall and Wavendon are nigh on impossible so any opportunity to share a stage with her is a joy for us both.

Along similar lines it’s great to have fine young players like Adam Parrish join me on stage for the whole of my second set and is special for us both. Adam has been a fan of my music since he was five years old so he tells me, and his two major musical influences are myself and Rick Wakeman, an interesting mixture I'm sure you will agree! Ricks influence is pretty evident when you hear him play, which is no bad thing, and what Adam brings to my music is a joy and allows me to re visit old tunes like Sallie's Song, and what he plays on The Lords Seat takes it to another dimension!

As I write this the three of us are playing Selby in a weeks’ time and I have no doubt that it will be as much fun for us all as HH was.

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Another Private Gig

You will now have read my heart-breaking account of Feb 1st, so it was nice to do a brief private gig locally for one of my students Ian as a surprise for his beloved wife Julie's birthday. It certainly lifted my spirits after such a sad affair earlier in the month.

Face Book Tributes To Great Men

Many months ago I did a series of tributes to REMARKABLE WOMEN in my life and this time I decided to do something similar for men who I considered to be truly great. These people would never see themselves in this way. A friend of mine once said "If great people knew how great they were they would cease to be great."

For me there is a profundity in that statement that rings true. All these great people that I hope to share with you will be pretty embarrassed by my words but so be it.

The first official one was for our dear friend Roger Bucknall and I'm including it in this month's news which I hope you will find interesting.

There is also one I wrote for the great guitarist Ted Turner an old friend and founder member of the legendary twin lead line up of Wishbone Ash. Once again I hope you find it an interesting read.

Over a period of time I hope to feature people I consider to be in their own way truly great people.

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Roger Bucknall Tribute

The first person to made mention of is my dear friend the great guitar maker Roger Bucknall MBE.

Apart from being one of the finest guitar makers in the world he is one of the kindest and compassionate, generous and dare I say it courageous people it has been my privilege to know.

Over the years he has had to overcome profound grief at the loss of his first child, health problems brought about through working with certain woods and the rebuilding of his company many years ago when it went through a tough time.

Roger is always there for other people sharing in their losses. When my son Jamie passed away two years ago Roger and Moira were there for us and by our side on that sad funeral day.

How he continues to create such stunningly beautiful sounding instruments is beyond me. His instruments just get better and better, having said that, his guitars have always sounded great as is evident in many of his earlier creations. Some of the greatest guitar players on the planet now use Fylde guitars but Roger is always keen to place his instruments in the hands of the newer guard of up and coming artists, and does all can to make this dream come true for them!

His guitars have formed the backdrop to many of my albums including Visionary, Perilous Journey, Fear of the Dark, Peacock Party, along with my Giltrap album from 73 where the very first 12 string he made is featured on the back cover. There will always be a Fylde guitar on my recordings and on stage with me!

I shall conclude this little tribute to my great friend by saying "Thanks for being there buddy" Love to you both.

Ted Turner tribute

Today I'm going share with you a remarkable man that I met in 1971. His name is Ted Turner and many of you will familiar with Ted because he was a founding member of the amazing band Wishbone Ash. At the time of meeting Ted we were both managed by the legendary Miles Copeland.

I can remember it like it was yesterday supporting the band at a London club. I had never seen them play before and was totally blown away by this band who walked on to the stage plugged in their instruments and seamlessly launched into a stinging twin lead introduction to Blind Eye. They were truly amazing and the thing that struck me about the quiet and thoughtful Brummie Ted was his total passion and an almost spiritual commitment to his music. We both shared a deep admiration for Peter Green and without a doubt that spirit and influence was there in Ted's playing.

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Many years have passed and our paths have crossed from time to time until a few years ago at a mutual friend’s house in Malvern we met up again. It was great seeing Ted again and to meet his beloved Majella. And there I was again chatting with the great man and remembering that first time I saw him and the band playing. Ted then turned to me, embraced me and said "Gordon you have never changed."

I had heard through the grapevine about the tragic death of his son and when my own son died Ted was there from across the world with words of comfort laced with his deep spirituality. All these years on Ted is still as handsome as he was way back in 71 and truly doesn't have the right to look that good at his age but look good he does. Knowing what I know of Ted it has never come as a surprise that he would plough his own furrow musically outside the confines of a band and I guess in that respect we have a lot in common.

Ted along with Majella will continue to make music that touches people's lives, not just in the work they create but in what they are as people.

Much love to you both and I so wish we lived closer because I have no doubt that we could combine our gifts and be quite a creative force. Such dreams are made of these and dreams they will probably remain but it mattereth not. Much love to you both from a windswept England.

Jamie Giltrap - UK Sepsis Trust fundraiser follow up

The following email and reply relate to the recent fundraising event in memory of my son Jamie, reported in the February news.

You will have by now received by BACS the sum of £1000.This money was raised in January at The Hare and Hounds in King's Heath Birmingham on a Tribute night for my late son Jamie Giltrap who was a famous Drum and Bass artist. The night was a great success and is now going to be established as an annual event in his memory.

Jamie died on January 31st 2018 aged 47 leaving behind his wife Karen, son Braden and sister Sadie. He is greatly missed.

I look forward to confirmation of payment at your earliest convenience.

Yours Sincerely.

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Gordon Giltrap. MBE

Dear Gordon,

I wanted to say thank you for choosing to raise funds for the UK Sepsis Trust in memory of your son Jamie. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.

The amazing £1,000 raised goes directly towards achieving our main aims of raising public awareness, educating health professionals, instigating political change and supporting those affected by sepsis. Please pass on our sincere thanks to everyone involved in organising and supporting your event. It sounds like it was a great night and I’m sure it was a fantastic tribute to your son. How wonderful that you’re also thinking of making this an annual event. Thank you so much for your generosity - your support is incredible and we really appreciate it.

In 2010 only 34% of us had heard of sepsis. Now, not only have 82% of us heard of it, but our last poll showed nearly two thirds of us would think of sepsis if they or a loved one had an infection. This progress is thanks to the generosity of all our supporters.

We are really grateful that you’ve chosen to help us in our mission to end preventable deaths by sepsis. We’d love to get in touch again soon to tell you more about how your donation is helping. If you’re happy to hear from us, please do let me know by email. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do get in touch on 0800 389 6255.

With very best wishes

Fylde newsletter Jan 2020 by Roger Bucknall

Roger writes: GG guitar from about 1976

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I think this was the third guitar Gordon had from me.

It was built very lightly, with a Cedar top, and Cedar bracing. Despite Gordon's very light stringing at the time, it didn't survive very well and someone persuaded Gordon to have the top replaced.

We can't be sure who did the work, or even why he did it, but it was an excellent job, just about invisible. If it was you or anyone you know, contact me, I might let you pay me to come and make the tea.

Anyway, Gordon never did "gel" with the new sound, he has sold the guitar, and we have managed to rebuild it again for the new owner. This time hopefully more like the original, but with a slightly stronger structure. The work was very difficult in places, particularly getting the neck back on at the correct angle - this was the third time it has been fitted, and there wasn't much wood left where I needed it. We don't have any allocated time for this sort of work so we fit it in when we can. This one took about 18 months.

But the new owner, a well know music "host", is delighted.