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H4H volunteerWhen it comes to charity and great causes, no-one does it better than the expat community. This was evident last night as Benidorm Palace was packed to the rafters for the Help 4 Heroes/Elche Children´s Home fundraiser. Crowds were already waiting outside an hour before the doors even opened, eager to get a good seat.

stevie spitThe incredibly funny and talented Stevie Spit compered the evening, interacting and warming up the crowds, ahead of the star-studded lineup. There was a fabulous selection of performers, both local talent and headline artistes who had flown over especially from the UK for the event. I passed by during the afternoon and sat in on the sounds checks for Chesney Hawkes and a 60 strong choir – Melody Makers International, who are based on the Orihuela Costa.

Chesney HawkesI caught up with Chesney after his run-through and what a delightful guy he is. He had flown over especially for the show on Saturday and sadly was leaving this morning – heading back to Los Angeles, where he has lived for the last three years. He has his own studio where he writes songs for film and TV – one of his recent epic collaborations was working for Director Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) on his film Source Code starring Jake Gyllenhaal. He told me he grew up around the music industry – his father Chip Hawkes was part of the 60´s group The Tremeloes so some of the greats of the music industry were often dropping in. He continues to tour and will be embarking on a 3 week UK tour – “Song Writers Circle”, accompanied by a string quartet! He plays a number of instruments but his favourite is the piano, which he learnt from a young age and told me that John Lennon was a big influence. When he sang his hit “The One and Only” in the evening the crowds all joined in with the chorus.

Melody Makers InternationalAfter Chesney’s sound check the 60 strong choir took to the stage – 42 ladies and 18 men under the directorship of choir master Nigel Hopkins. Nigel was a professional singer and conductor in the UK, touring as a tenor soloist worldwide to great acclaim. Having moved to Spain in 2009, he took no time to establish Melody Makers International, in addition to another 3 hugely successful choirs. They perform 2 concerts a year – on the last Saturday of January and June at the Orihuela Costa Resort to audiences of 1000 plus and last night performed a “Phantom Medley” – incorporating 5 songs spectacularly. They are most certainly worth going to see – incredibly rousing, inspiring and leaving the audience totally riveted.

Jimmy CricketAs the Palace filled up I had the opportunity to talk to a real old school comedian, Jimmy Cricket. A true gentleman through and through with his characteristic Irish lilt and charm. He grew up in Belfast and joined that bastion of entertainment – becoming a redcoat at Butlins, initially just outside of Dublin then moving to Clacton in the UK. He stayed until the late 60´s then moved up North – where he met his good lady wife and settled.

jimmy on stageIt is not his first visit to Benidorm, he did a number of shows at the Wheeltapper & Shunters Cabaret Bar – now sadly closed but in its day a real top spot, attracting many of Jimmy’s peers over the years such as Frank Carson, Mick Millar and Stan Boardman. He is embarking on a 15 day Christmas Tour in December, together with Merrill, Jay and Jimmy Osmond – as in The Osmonds. They are renowned Mormons and so Jimmy, having just been awarded a Papal knighthood by Pope Francis for his charity work seems a fitting combination – there will certainly be no bad language and crudity, he believes in good clean old fashioned lines.

Josh DanielsAnother comedian who performed last night – and also by coincidence in its day at the Wheeltappers, was Josh Daniels. He certainly got the crowd roaring with his combination of storytelling and singing – accompanied by his guitar, which yes did fly over with him in his hand luggage! His guitar days go back to his teens, when he was part of a band, gigging around the pub circuit. Ross Noble, gave him his first open mike spot at the Hyena Comedy Café in Newcastle, where he did a 10 minute spot – and hasnt stopped since. He has supported many of the big names, including Lee Mack and is touring around the UK until Christmas. He told me “All I want to do is make people laugh and support the cause” – and so you did Josh, and so you did.

Stacey Solomon at Benidorm PalaceStacey Solomon, headliner of the event and former Celebrity Queen of the Jungle was last on – but was in the audience with her family watching the show beforehand. She thrilled the entire room with classics such as Son of a Precher Man, Rule the World, The way you make me Feel and really got the room when she dueted with Chesney on guitar singing Louis Armstrongs “It´s a Wonderful World". Top marks to her for taking the time out, especially as it was her birthday – thoughtfully event organizer Evie Walker and Stevie Spit had a birthday cake waiting… with plenty of chocolate!

eveie walker and stevie spitA huge congratulations to Evie and Stevie and especially, who sponsored the entire event During the interval number of people were asked onto the stage, which had raised money for the Elche Children home. Annette and Michelle who fundraise for the home came up to thank everyone for their generosity – informing the audience that it costs €160 per child per day to run the facilities and all money raised today would be put to very good use. . When I get the final amount raised – which is being divided between Help for Heroes and the Elche Children’s Home I will update the article.

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Latest Comments

  • Step back in time...

    Carrie-Ann Thompson 11.05.2024 16:20
    Love it xx
  • Benidorm Palace fundraiser

    Ernest Adams 29.04.2024 07:37
    Some very good shows I wish I was watching today
  • Benidorm Palace fundraiser

    Chris Pile 28.04.2024 19:33
    Brilliant show!

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