You are standing at a bar in your home town of North Walsham when in walk
three of the greatest living rock legends: guitarist Eric Clapton, Genesis' Mike
Rutherford, and Procul [sic] Harum's Gary
Brooker – the voice on rock classic A Whiter Shade
That was the dream-come-true moment for lifelong rock-music fan Barry Holden, who has the stars' signatures to prove it.
The celebrity trio were staying at the town's Beechwood Hotel where Barry met them and asked them to sign a wealth of memorabilia which will be up for auction at Barry's charity gig in North Walsham next week.
That night to remember followed an earlier encounter at the Beechwood when Barry also met and gained signatures from Roger Taylor, drummer with Queen, and Top Gear star Jeremy Clarkson.
All the men were in town to take part in private social and sporting events nearby and Barry was tipped off about their presence by a friend and supporter of his past four Live Aid gigs which have raised about £15,000 to help children.
The centrepiece of this year's auction, which takes place during the gig at North Walsham Community Centre on Saturday March 28, will be a black and white Fender Stratocaster-style guitar donated by Jonnie Starling of White Star guitars. It is similar to Clapton's own famous “Blackie” and has been signed by Clapton, Rutherford and Brooker.
Barry, who runs Zelley Jewellery in North Walsham, has been a major player on the Norfolk rock scene for decades, as both a musician and event organiser.
He said: “These people are my heroes. Eric Clapton is the most famous living rock guitarist in the world.
“After I got the call telling me he would be at the Beechwood I nearly dropped the phone and fainted!”
Local bands Beyond Duplication, Raw Edge, Circus, Ultra Ego and Pinto are giving their services for free to perform at the gig, which starts at 8pm.
Tickets cost £8 and are available from Zelley, in the St Nicholas Court precinct, 01692 402123, or via 01692 403883 and 07903 902731. Proceeds from the evening will go to Children with Leukaemia.
Update, 1 April 2009 (online
A guitar signed by Eric Clapton was just one of the items that were featured in a charity auction held in the UK last weekend that raised over £6,000 (US$8,500) for Children With Leukaemia.
The guitar – which was also signed by Mike Rutherford from Genesis and Procol Harum singer Gary Brooker – went under the hammer for £500 at the event, held in Norwich. Also up for auction was a guitar signed by Green Day, which sold for £840, and a Clapton-signed DVD of a Cream reunion at the Albert Hall that sold for £200.
Children With Leukaemia is the UK’s leading charity dedicated exclusively to fighting Britain’s biggest childhood cancer. For more than 20 years, they have been helping children affected by leukaemia. They fund research into causes and treatments, support families through welfare programmes and campaign on their behalf. Their current fundraising campaign is being fronted by British celebrity Chris Tarrant, and the charity also enjoys support from Jonathan Ross, Judi Dench, Phil Collins, Joanna Lumley, Paul McCartney and many more.
Gary Brooker's page at BtP