Veterans’ Three Peaks fundraiser is a success

A concert of rhythm and blues music topped up the total raised by a group who completed a notorious British challenge.

Wednesday, 3rd November 2021, 11:00 am
Presentation of the cheque to Horse Time. Picture by Colin Campbell.

The Killer Cats played a charity event at Berwick Guild Hall in aid of Horse Time. Its programmes include Horses for Forces, which is primarily designed to help veterans and first responders.

This event also took place to celebrate five veterans – Phil Johnson, Benjamin Gregory, Dougal Douglas, Andrew Duffy and Robbie Reay – who managed to complete the Three Peaks Challenge.

What made it more astounding was getting to the peaks of Ben Nevis in Scotland (1,345m), Snowdon in Wales (1,085m) and Scafell Pike in England (978m) was accomplished within a 24-hour period, in sometimes torrential conditions.

Phil said on the night: “With Horses for Forces, Horse Time uses the equine side to connect with veterans – it is an excellent programme.

“We have seen where they operate and they are an excellent charity. I have worked with many charities and have found the smaller ones are better value for money.

“As for the challenge and concert, Andrew’s boss stumped up money for the bus and fuel, and a friend of mine from Wales sent me a cheque for hire of the hall.

“Also, someone I worked with in the King's Own Scottish Borderers (Cumbria Unit) donated and this covered expenses.

“We achieved our target of £5,000, excluding what we make at the concert.”

The night started with two local bagpipers piping in the assembled audience, then Phil Johnson made an emotive speech on how the challenge had gone and talked about the charity.

Throughout, there were also projections of slides from the challenge.

Before the music started there was a proclamation made by Alnwick Town Crier Roger Daniel, suitably attired and ringing his bell, which was well appreciated by the audience.

The Killer Cats are a four-piece rhythm and blues outfit from the Scottish Borders area. They comprise of Robbie Reay on lead vocals and guitars, Willie Cran, harmonica and on rhythm section, Lovat Fraser on double bass and bass guitar, and Robert Thomson on drums.

They did two sets of tunes – a lot were originals written by Robbie and retelling his journey to Mississippi in 2016.

Starting with Up and Down, an original, they blistered through some blues standards such as Sweet Home Chicago and the dance floor was filling up when they played Blues Itch.

At the break, Phil did a vote of thanks and recalled the weather conditions when reaching Snowdonia.

Special mentions to Kevin Shearer who designed the shirts and Jessie James Bunk House in North Wales.

The cheque was then duly handed over to the charity organiser Sue Brewis. Ben and Andrew also gave a speech.

The second set of tunes started with an acapella version of Grinning In Your Face, Boom Boom had the dance floor buzzing and during Juke Joint Boogie, there was even a conga. Then it was the final two songs, culminating in Baby I Don’t Care.

For more information about the charity, go to www.horsetime.org.uk