Jimmy Cricket has been paying tribute to a great friend and musician.
It follows the death of Archie Taylor in a boating accident.
Jimmy, 71, said: “When my friend Graham Helms – the conductor of the 2nd Rossendale Scout Band – rang to tell me that our mutual friend, Archie Taylor (pictured right), had tragically died when his boat capsized in mid-wales over the Easter holidays, I was deeply saddened.
“Archie was 90 years old, but had the energy and drive of somebody half that age. He was also one of the best saxophonists I’ve ever heard. When Graham and I decided to do some charity fundraising gigs, Graham had the wonderful idea of having an eight-piece swing section and he labelled it the Swinging Crickets.
“So there I’d be crooning my socks off, with the boys behind me going at full throttle and Archie blowing up a storm. Needless to say we raised a few bob for charity from these concerts and we all had a great time!
“My thoughts go out to his family at this sad time.”
Almost 450 people attended the Pauline Helm Memorial Event at Burnley Football Club, where Jimmy Cricket was one of the entertainers.
The fund-raising gala dinner evening was organised by Pauline’s widower, Graham Helm (pictured below with Jimmy), and was held in one of the club’s main function suites, which was packed to the rafters with almost 450 people there.
It was hosted by BBC Radio Lancashire presenter Sally Naden and, apart from Jimmy’s contribution, the entertainment programme also featured Bacup-born international opera singer Sean Ruane (pictured below right with his wife) and music from the excellent band, A few good men.
Famous Northern Irish comedian Jimmy said: “The evening raised a magnificent £10,000 in total and this achieved figure was a richly deserved outcome for Graham after all of his efforts over a number of months in the lead-up to the event.”
The money raised will now be split between two great causes, with £7,000 being awarded to the local East Lancashire Hospice and £3,000 going to construct an outdoor performance space for young people in Burnley.
Jimmy Cricket has been asked to be part of a special charity event in May next year.
It will be hosted at Burnley Football Club and all proceeds will go towards the Paula Helm Memorial Fund.
Well-known entertainer Jimmy said: “Paula was a special lady who sadly passed away earlier this year at an unexpectedly young age, as she succumbed to a terminal illness.
“When Paula’s husband, Graham, approached me about appearing at this event, I thought it was such a good cause for a wonderful lady that I found it hard to refuse.
“I have been good friends with Graham for a number of years. In fact, Graham himself conducts one of the top brass bands in the East Lancashire region called the Bacup Scout Band.”
The memorial fund set up in Paula’s name will see the money go towards the valuable work of helping children in the Burnley area, and will also be used to support the care provided by the East Lancashire Hospice.
Those interested in attending the event on Saturday 2 May can place their ticket reservations with Graham by contacting him at 07976 253469.