A GROUP that began with coffee mornings and book sales is now celebrating its fifth year holding monthly music nights to raise funds for Manorlands hospice.

The Groovy Happening night, held monthly at Parkside Social Club in Butt Lane, Haworth, attracts musicians from across the district. The forthcoming event, on Saturday April 1, features Bingley-based band 69, Bradford and Leeds four-piece Albion Street, Keighley duo Caledonia Road and Leeds-based singer-songwriter Nay Harrison.

It all began when two women who had lost their partners came together with a few friends to form a fundraising group. They had all experienced the support, care and comfort offered by the hospice in Oxenhope.

They decided to raise funds and began by selling books on market stalls and holding coffee mornings. Then they began to hold music nights, which they named ‘Groovy Happening’. These quickly became popular and have gone from strength to strength.

Ann Wiles is one of three members who have been involved from the beginning, the others being Luke Parker and Phil Hobson.

Organising it was scary at first, but quite exciting,” she says.

Groovy Happening’s first event was on February 4, 2012. “We have just had our fifth anniversary,” says Ann, who runs a gift and music shop in Haworth. “We have an event on the first Saturday of the month and the next one on April 1 will be our 71st.

“We normally have four acts on, two bands and two solos/duos. The musicians are always happy to play here free of charge to a music-loving audience for a good cause. We are very grateful for their generosity.”

“We charge only £3 on the door and run a raffle. We have now raised £23,400 for Manorlands hospice.”

The organisers now number seven or eight, “but we are always happy to have more help on the night,” says Ann. “Parkside Social Club has been a big support too.”

Popular band 69 is made up of former Love Affair member Michael Jackson and Bingley musicians Alastair Harnby and Dave Johnson.

Albion Street’s sound fuses a high energy mix of mainly rock and reggae, mixed with a little ska, British soul and salsa.

Caledonia Road is made up of the acoustic music of lyrical genius and PPI wizard Frankie Anderson, from Keighley and lead guitar by Alex Waterman.

Nay Harrison has come into his own as a solo artist writing catchy and memorable drive time songs.

Recently Groovy Happening raised £1,310 for Manorlands from a raffle. The first prize of six platinum discs presented to singer-songwriter Paul Weller, was donated by Weller himself. The second prize was a guitar signed by him.

“It is amazing - we never dreamed that it would go this far,” says Ann. “At first it was hard to find bands, but now we have a list of people who want to play. We like to give young bands a go if they are just starting up.”

She adds: “We seem to have a good routine sorted and we raise a regular amount for Manorlands, so we’re all happy.”

The organisers keep in touch with their audience and musicians through social media.

“We have a lot of regulars as well as people who come to see certain bands. Often they bring family and friends. It is such good fun - a real party atmosphere.”

l Groovy Happenings, Parkside Social Club, Butt Lane, Haworth, is on Saturday April 1, £3. facebook.com/groovyhappening.

Helen Mead