Some of us just get better with age - it certainly seems true of The Leprechauns.
The charismatic and popular local band has been helping Bexhill celebrate St Patrick’s Day for 25 years and yet is as ready to party as ever.
They were a makeshift ensemble created when another band did not turn up for a gig and most of that core group is still performing.
It included guitarists Steve Heseltine and Kevin Brennan, accordeonist Krzysztof “JZ”, Tony Pryor who plays harmonica, guitar, fiddle, and ukele, Pete Stanley the keyboard player, Katrina Doherty the flautist, Tim Gagen on double bass, and Mary Robertson and Jack Doherty on vocals.
More than 30 musicians and singers have joined for performances and the line-up has been fluid.
Over the years they have performed for all kinds of occasions where an Irish flavour and fun atsmosephere was required such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, wakes, school and parish fetes, and club events.
The Leprechauns have a wide repertoire of traditional songs including Whiskey in the jar, Rare Auld Times, Jug of Punch, Bold O Donoghue, long Wayu to Tipperary, Wild mountain Thyme, and Galway Shawl.
There is a mini Leprechauns group which performs mostly afternoons at venues, such as nursing homes, with various members including latest recruit Neil Woodroffe. They have played to entertain residents, staff and visitors in Beechwood Lodge, Lindsay Hall, Queen Mary Home, and Copperbeeches among others.
The group is deeply saddened by the passing some months ago of Malcolm Fursdon after 17 years of his “most enjoyable musical experience,” having performed widely. Malcolm was “just about” forgiven for scoring a try for Sussex County against London Irish in the early 1950’s - such is the memory of a Leprechaun.
Also badly missed is Emma Moulding, a guest flautist, who passed away aged just 32.
Vocalist Jack said: “Both of these friends will be uppermost in our camaraderie this season.”
They kick off the first of their anniversary celebrations at No 48 Bexhill tonight at 7pm with a curry; price £6.50.
On Friday March 14 they perform at the Holy Redeemer Hall in St Leonards.
On Saturday March 15 they go back to where they started at St Mary Magdalene’s Hall in Bexhill from 8pm. The evening opens with The Robertsons Academy Pipe Band and by popular request the return of the Carey Academy of Irish Dancing from Worthing with their champions.
Angela and Ghislaine are leading the cooking team to make a fabulous traditional Irish Coddle dish - Leprechaun food with magical powers, not to be missed. A limited licenced bar of fairtrade beers and wines will be available. Tickets cost adults £8, children £4, families £20 and are available from 01424 214605 or 01424 731905, or St Mary Magdalene’s 01424 210263 but are moving quickly.
On St Patrick’s Day, March 17, the Leprechauns are at their annual venue of Eastbourne Workingmens’ Club, Firle Road from 8.30pm - having played in the Crypt of St Mary Star of the Sea in Hastings at lunchtime - then move to The Plough in Crowhurst on Thursday March 20 from 8.30pm.