Devine Buskers stepping up a gear for hospice service

Devine Buskers stepping up a gear for hospice service

Michael Owens

Devine Buskers stepping up a gear for hospice service

Seven musicians are doing their bit to help build Berkshire's first children's hospice by taking to the streets and getting shoppers to tap their toes.

The Devine Buskers first collaborated about four years ago and have gone on to raise about £5,000 for the charity.

Now, in a year following the launch of the Advertiser-backed Together We Can Build It campaign, the magnificent seven have stepped up a gear.

They started off by doing about four gigs a year but now singer Richard Johnson says they plan to put on about six to eight shows this year.

“The more money we can make the better it is,” said the 68-year-old.

“We perform in the Nicholsons Centre, the royal shopping centre in Windsor and we have actually done one or two commissions for dinners.

"They pass the hat around and we do quite well!"

Richard, from Courthouse Road in Maidenhead, provides vocals for the group along with fellow Maidenhead musicians Linda Berridge, David Treloar, Steve Archer on percussion and Andrew Ingram on guitar.

The group is completed by Windsor-based guitarist Myles Hannon and Flackwell Heath six-stringer, John Cassel.

They get together most Mondays to perfect their repertoire of classic tunes from across decades of hits.

They play everything from Brown Eyed Girl to Blue Suede Shoes.

Richard, a retired IT consultant, was already involved with the charity before the band formed because his wife Helen is one of its trustees and formed a Maidenhead fundraising group six years ago.

He helped out when he could by doing any kind of technical jobs it needed when the charity’s offices were first set up.

After talking to friends he had mixed with in musical circles over the year – including four from the Voices Anon choir, based out of St Piran’s School in Gringer Hill - they got to work.

“We got together and said ‘we can raise some funds’," he added.

“Our first gig was outside Woolworths on the High Street in Maidenhead, where we performed for a couple of hours to boost the coffers.

"We just saw there was another revenue stream that we could provide."

The band raised £290.35 with a performance in the Nicholsons Centre on Saturday.

They were joined by guitarist Howard Beaten for their session.

The next performance and collection from the Devine Buskers will be back at the Nicholsons Centre on Saturday, June 7.

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