Musician Mike Hatchard has come up with a novel idea to raise funds for charity - cycling from one end of the country to the other with a piano stopping along the way to play..again, and again.
Mike, who lives in St Leonards, says his epic ‘concert tour’ will see him cycling from Land’s End to John o’Groats with his electric piano strapped to a trailer. “I’ll be playing in all kinds of venues for BBC Children in Need because I shall be sixty,” he said. “It’s the ambition of a lifetime.”
Mike will set his wheels in motion and take to the road June 29-September 3. Along with appealing for sponsorship to help reach his £15,000 target he needs other support. “I’m still looking for extra help along the way, particularly with accommodation. I’ve got a team of great people who have volunteered to drive the support vehicle but I possibly need a few more.”
Mike says although he has 40 concerts lined up along the way there are still a few gaps in the calendar especially for the first week in August when he could do with some more dates in the Lake District or Borders. “I’ve also found it impossible to get any gigs in the Highlands, although perhaps by that point I’ll just want to cycle straight on to John o’Groats!”
Mike began his career as the pianist for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and studied piano under Peter Wallfisch and composition with Philip Cannon at the Royal College of Music (winning the composer’s prize). He toured America as Cleo Laine’s accompanist as a member of the John Dankworth Quintet and subsequently became Matt Monro’s youngest ever musical director.
“The biggest challenge of my life at the moment is the fact that exercising hard is tiring me out,” he said. “Any help at all is appreciated. I’m planning to make an album over the next few weeks to accompany the tour and some of the best musicians known to me have agreed to play on it including Liane Carroll, Liam Genocky, Bobby Worth and Paul Kimber.”
Mike will be performing at The Stables Theatre, Hastings on July 10, at 7.30pm. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/MikeHatchardCycling/
Donate at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mike-Hatchard