He’s Dunnery it again – £10,000 raised for charity

by Rachael Grealish

Rock star at home: Francis performed the full ‘Gully Flats Boys’ album in memory of John Lynn. Photo by Robert Haile

EGREMONT-BORN rock star, Francis Dunnery, helped raise almost £10,000 from his annual charity weekend.

Francis returns home from the United States every year to host a weekend – including a benefit concert and sponsored walk – to raise money for the Charlie and Kathleen Dunnery Children’s Fund (CKDCF) – the charity he set up in memory of his parents.

The 2016 weekend, held on October 22 and 23, was dedicated to do-gooders and supporters lost: John Lynn and Peter Watson.
Events kicked off on the Friday evening (October 22), with a welcome dinner at the Seacote Hotel, in St Bees.

Charity supporters and friends of Francis, travelled from all over the world – as far away as America, Italy and Sweden – to be part of the weekend. During the dinner, the former It Bites frontman said thank you to everyone involved, and shared memories of those the weekend was dedicated to.

John Lynn was a firm follower and fan of Francis and had supported the charity for years – even bracing the sponsored walk in 2015 in a Mankini – but passed away at the beginning of this year.

Francis said: “John was a brilliant man, so kind and giving, and I’m glad we can honour his memory by dedicating the weekend to him.”
Lynn had a collection of It Bites and Francis Dunnery memorabilia dating back to the 80s – all of which were donating by Lynn’s daughters, in his memory, to be auctioned, with all profits going to charity.

Charities and societies that the CKDCF supports were in attendance on the night including: MayfieldSchool – who were presented with a sound system and performed for Francis earlier that week – The Blind Society, and Cumbria Cerebral Palsy.

Jill Waters, from Cumbria Cerebral Palsy, addressed the room. She said: “I feel very humbled when I come here because I can see just how many people help to raise the money that helps so many people – and it’s because of all of you and the CKDCF.”

The annual ‘Joy in the Rain’ sponsored walk had a new route for 2016 – giving up the former, more difficult, route around Ennerdale Water for an easier and shorter route around Loweswater.

In 2015 Francis had named the walk the ‘Peter Watson Joy in the Rain Walk’ in memory of his former school teacher and later Egremont 2Day editor, Peter Watson.

Francis said: “Peter was a staunch supporter of the CKDCF since its beginning. I loved Peter. He had such a warm heart and a passion for his work.”

This was also the first time since the start of the charity that it did not rain during the walk!

The benefit concert, which took place at Egremont’s Market Hall on Saturday 23, was well attended by international and local supporters.

Francis wasn’t the only Dunnery to take the stage, as his nephew and great-nephew were part of the supporting act – John and Wayne – who performed a selection of originals from their own albums.

For the main act Francis, with a group of musicians and performers, played the entire ‘Gully Flats Boys’ album.

Francis said: “It’s been an amazing weekend, just brilliant to get so many people together for a great cause and have a great time raising money – it’s been just fantastic.

“It couldn’t done it without all the hard work of everyone involved. There’s people all over the world helping and it couldn’t have been done without Mark Andrews, and his children, making sure everything happens back here at home.”

Mark Andrews, a trustee for the CKDCF, said the weekend raised an estimated £10,000 – all of which will be given to charities and good causes around Cumbria.

Friends, family and supporters: Supporters of the CKDCF from all over the UK and the world, travelled to Cumbria for the weekend. Photo by Robert Haile