Ukulele club strums to mark 10th anniversary

IN TUNE: Members of Kidderminster Ukuele Club playing for founder Ray Shakeshaft in the nursing home where he lives.

IN TUNE: Members of Kidderminster Ukuele Club playing for founder Ray Shakeshaft in the nursing home where he lives.

First published in News

IT STARTED off with an advertisement in the Kidderminster Shuttle and now the town’s ukulele club is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Members marked their milestone year on Tuesday last week by playing for 80-year-old founder Ray Shakeshaft in the Cookley nursing home where he now lives.

The musician started the club, also officially known as the Severnside Ukulele Strummers Association or SUSA, from a hall in Bewdley after advertising for players in The Shuttle in 2004.

The group was formed with just five members and 10 years on has grown in numbers with over 60 players.

The club’s meetings are now held in St George’s Social Club, Kidderminster, where members hosted a party to mark their milestone anniversary.

Gay Butler, who helps run the club, said: “It’s a real achievement for Ray that the club has reached 10 years.

“It started in 2004 after Ray put an advert in the Kidderminster Shuttle for people to come along and join him playing the ukulele on March 25. It started off with just five people and we now have well over 60 members.”

She added the group, which meets every Thursday, played regularly at nursing homes and popular events and venues in the West Midlands.

“At the meetings we practise and the songs get arranged and we have a good sing,” said Mrs Butler, who joined the club in 2007.

“The idea is that people who have never played an instrument can just come along and really enjoy themselves.”

The club’s music selection dates from 1890 to 1980 and they play songs such as Bring Me Sunshine, by composer Arthur Kent, Nat King Cole’s Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire and comedy song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, by Eric Idle.

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