Music maestro Barry Holden has taken to shop volunteering to ‘strum’ up more funds for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
The 76-year-old has raised thousands of pounds for children’s charities, including EACH, by staging a series of Live Aid-style concerts in North Walsham.
The first was in 1986, inspired by Sir Bob Geldof’s global fundraiser, and another took place in January 2005 in the aftermath of the devastating Boxing Day tsunami.
Barry’s gigs have since taken place every year, apart from the last two because of COVID, and raised in the region of £100,000.
As if that was not enough, Barry started volunteering in EACH’s North Walsham shop six months ago and he was speaking during week one of the charity’s We Need You campaign.
The recruitment drive started on Monday and runs until 28th January, with the aim of encouraging others to step forward and help in one of the 44 EACH shops across East Anglia.
“It’s something I thoroughly enjoy,” said Barry, whose wife, Chris, has been volunteering in the shop since 2018.
“I worked in the retail industry for years and it’s nice still having some involvement, despite being retired.
“EACH is a charity that allows you to share ideas and use your own initiative and it’s lovely working alongside a fantastic bunch of people.
“I find it very rewarding.”
After so much phenomenal fundraising, Barry could be forgiven for sitting back and thinking he had ‘done his bit’ to help EACH.
However, he remains as dedicated as ever and said: “I still get so much out of it and would recommend volunteering to anyone.
“I only do two or three hours a week so it’s not a big imposition on my time, but hopefully it helps.
“I think others would love it, too.
“You can bring your own skills and ideas to the role and for anyone retired, like myself, it’s nice staying active and involved with something as special and worthy as EACH.”
In addition to organising his fundraising concerts, Barry also sources coveted items to be auctioned and his heroics were rewarding with an appearance on ITV show Surprise Surprise in December 2013.
Host Holly Willoughby shared a film highlighting his great work and then, much to Barry’s amazement, introduced rock legend Sir Rod Stewart, who signed a guitar.
“I was stunned and it was a very special experience,” said Barry, who has two children, three grandchildren and was invited to the opening of The Nook hospice in 2019.
“I’ve played the bass guitar in bands all my life.
“Music is part of me and it’s always been a real pleasure channelling that passion into helping others.”