With The Beatles

10:45pm Friday 12th August 2011

By Michael Duffy

‘What can I get you John ?’ ‘ Eh, the names Phil and I’ll have a diet coke please ’ replied John, sorry I mean Phil.

This was my first encounter with the Beatles or to be precise The Backbeat Beatles, backstage in a back garden in Chorleywood.

Not just anybodys back garden as this was the home of Sue & David Formosa who welcome picknickers to their annual Music By Twilight concert to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Trust.

And being Chorleywood, not just any picnics, in fact there wasn’t a non free range, non organic Scotch egg to be seen unless it had been smuggled past the picnic police on the gate who were there to check the provenance & grower of each and every pickled onion.

So dear reader what was I doing there ?

Well I had volunteered to run the backstage bar for The Backbeat Beatles at the back of the stage or The Green Room as it’s known in the trade.

The previous day I had made a reconnaissance trip and had seen the shell of the stage being constructed on the border of a lake surrounded by a most beautiful garden that formed a natural amphitheatre.

Arriving on the day to set up I was impressed to see the completed stage with a team of technicians scurrying round, all of who give freely of their time.

Organising the event was Mick Flinn of The New Seekers whose wife Donna and her jazz band set the mood for the evening by performing from a bandstand at the top of the garden before Christina Petrou, a young lady with a beautiful voice, opened proceedings on the main stage.

Next up was another youngster with a beautiful voice, Peter Grant, who not only sang but admitted to being the voice behind the Twix advert.

Another youngster was next up to run the charity auction, Martin Clarkson , who kept the bidding ticking along as signed Arsenal shirts, signed photos of Harry Potter stars and signed photos taken by celebrity photographer Danny Clifford all went for hundreds, somebody even bid £350 for Sunday lunch at a pub in Bushey.

By now it was dark and the stage looked magnificent with lights picking out the lilies on the lake and a big screen to the side beaming images from 4 cameramen to the 500 strong audience.

And where was I when The Backbeat Beatles launched into Can’t buy me love ?

Approximately 10 feet from the stage, well I had to be near in case Phil wanted another drink.

A great night and over £32,000 raised for a great cause taking the running total to £200,000 over the 9 years the concert has been staged.

Can’t wait for next year.

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