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Raising funds for a permanent memorial to the legendary Led Zeppelin drummer in his home town of Redditch, Worcestershire

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REVIEW: Deborah Bonham Fundraising Gig

Saturday 2nd August 2014

Venue: St Stephens Church, Church Green, Redditch, Worcs B97 4DY    

 

Fans and supporters from all over the country descended on St Stephens Church in Redditch town centre on Saturday (2nd Aug) night for a fundraising concert by DB, younger sister of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer, John Bonham.

 

The concert was in aid of the John Bonham Memorial Fund, set up by 3 local fans, Clem and Sam Dallaway of Rocktave Music Tuition and Ros Sidaway of Vintage Trax Retro Record Specialists, to raise £50,000 for a fitting permanent memorial to the late Redditch-born and raised rock star.

 

The church, which was also the venue for brother Mick and Linda's wedding, was filled with people who had travelled from Newcastle upon Tyne, Wigan, Doncaster, Stoke on Trent, Shrewsbury, Port Talbot, Wiltshire, Hampshire, Milton Keynes and Peterborough as well the Black Country, Solihull and Birmingham, Herefordshire and the wider Worcestershire area.

 

And they were rewarded with an emotionally charged acoustic set, including Chains, I Need Love, Open Up Your Heart and a particularly poignant rendition of her track The Old Hyde which was performed with a backdrop of cine film showing the young Bonham’s at play and was incredibly moving to watch.  

 

Two of her regular band members, Pete Bullick and Gerard G Louis provided the perfect back up on guitar and keyboards.

 

For Deborah, it was the first time that she had performed in her hometown where surviving members of the Bonham family still live, including 91 year old Aunty Bet and 87 year old Aunty Dot who both attended the gig with the family. Also present were John's wife, Pat's family but although she still lives in the West Midlands, sadly she couldn't attend  as she is over in the US at present with daughter Zoe who lives there permanently. Both sent messages of support - an email from Pat which Deborah read out to the audience, and an emotional video message from Zoe which was relayed along with other video tributes from Carmine Appice (Drummer, Vanilla Fudge), Lynyrd Skynyrd, Fun Lovin’ Criminals’ Frankie Bendini, and Paul Rodgers, Lead Singer with Free and Bad Company. Hereford born, Mick Ralphs (founding member of Mott the Hoople and Bad Company) sent a written message which was also read out by Deborah.

 

Sam and Clem Dallaway opened the evening as acoustic duo "Totem", with their renditions of classic rock songs (Hotel California and Stairway to Heaven included), stripped back to the purest vocals of Sam, accompanied by Clem's sublime guitar playing.

 

Just shy of £2000 was raised from ticket and refreshment sales, and donations from those who couldn't make it have so far reached over £1500.

 

 

Further fundraising events are being planned by the Fund's founders who have been joined by Linda Bonham, wife of late Mick Bonham, in their efforts.

 

The group is also encouraging local people and Led Zeppelin fans worldwide to do their own fundraising in aid of the John Bonham Memorial Fund. Contact the group via the form on the website www.johnbonhammemorialfund.com

 

Gig Organiser and Fund Treasurer, Ros Sidaway said “September 2015 marks 35 years since John's death at the young age of 32. It would be a most wonderful tribute to have memorial in place to where fans could go to pay their respects to the world’s greatest drummer.”