Gary's Gathering ~ Report

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Newcastle Upon Tyne, one of the great cities of the North, became the venue for Gary’s latest gathering after Gary heard about a young boy called Daniel Muers, who suffers from the very rare Hunter Syndrome condition.  Daniel is the grandson of Elaine Bertram, one of the members of Gary’s Discussion Group, and Gary decided that he would like to do a cast of Dan’s hand, thus enabling his family to have something they will treasure in years to come.  From that thought, the plans grew into a weekend of charity fund-raising and a fan get-together spread over two nights.  Gary's fans travelled from all over the UK and Europe for the weekend.

The fun started on Friday afternoon when Gary was interviewed on the Julia Hankin show on BBC Radio Newcastle, accompanied by Elaine Bertram who had magnificently arranged the whole weekend.  This interview is available to listen to on the Audio page.  Gary entertained the listeners with several of his stories and jokes while Elaine went on to describe the weekend's events.  Some of Gary’s fans also made the journey to the studios armed with banners and posters to support him there.  Julia thoroughly enjoyed Gary's story-telling, and even presented him with a Drumstick brand lollipop, which Gary found highly amusing.  A brief photo-shoot then took place at the studios before heading back to the Imperial Hotel to prepare for the evening's entertainment.

The Friday evening fund-raiser for Daniel consisted of a 60s dinner dance with an auction, raffle, tombola and games.  Many people, both locals and fans alike, made the effort to dress up in 60s gear, and really looked the part!  The evening got off to a rousing start with a game of Heads or Tails, which was compered by Gary in his own unique style after the rules had been quickly explained to him.  This was followed by an excellent three-course meal, and then it was on to the raffle and auction, which were both highly successful fund-raisers.  Amongst many other excellent prizes donated by local businesses and other well-wishers, Gary donated two items for the auction: a copy of a sheet of the original artwork for The Walker Brothers’ "Everything Under The Sun" Box Set, and the handwritten lyrics for his own song "Death Of Romance" from the "Nite Flights" album.  When the lyrics came up for auction, Gary's Discussion Group member, Krystyna Terleckis, treated everybody to a splendid rendition of the song, much to her own surprise!  For those who were still standing, the evening was rounded off by a 60s disco.  It was a full and fun-packed evening, with Gary being a very popular guest of honour.

Saturday was a free day and many took advantage of the excellent weather for sightseeing and shopping.  They all returned with tales of a great city with wonderful friendly people.  Others were busy preparing for the 'Evening With Gary Walker', which was an informal occasion purely for Gary’s fans.  It was an opportunity for quality time with Gary, during which he spoke to everyone individually as well as posing for photographs and signing various items of merchandise.  Lewis Williams also came along, and was happy to sign copies of his book Scott Walker - The Rhymes Of Goodbye.  The music throughout the evening was, not surprisingly, all Walker songs.  Gary entertained everyone later in the evening with a fantastic repertoire of hilarious stories.  His 'mature' audience were fortunate to escape without several heart-attacks after so many outbursts of hysterical laughter!!  The evening ended all too soon with Gary presenting bouquets to the organisers, Elaine Bertram and Anne Harrison.  This was followed by a surprise for Gary when he was presented with a gift, not only from his Discussion Group members who were there, but also from others around the world.

Somewhat surprisingly, everybody made it to breakfast on Sunday morning.  Then it was time to just say goodbye............until the next time! 


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