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ROCK IT FOR WILLEN 2012 – Thank you Milton Keynes!

This weekend saw Rock It For Willen 2012, in its third year raising much needed money for local charity Willen Hospice. The sun was shining, the bands were rocking, the beer (and water!) was flowing and people from far and wide joined us to have fun and help the cause … and they gave very generously!

visit for uploaded images from the weekend coming soon!!

visit for uploaded images from the weekend coming soon!!

The 2010 and 2011 Rock It For Willen events raised over £7,000 collectively for the charity. This year – despite the apparent recession the country is in – we raised a whopping great £5,700! I feel so incredibly humbled to have been part of the team organising the event, the brainchild of Milton Keynes’ very own Paul Hockenhull of Bad News Promotions. Paul lost his wife a few years ago through illness and the team at Willen Hospice were there for his family throughout and afterwards to give much needed care and support. It was this experience which led Paul to organise the event in 2010, initially called “Hock Rocks” as I recall! And what a monster Paul has created, dedicating so much time, effort and energy to his mission.

After the recent daily torrent of rain, we put an order in to the Weather Gods last week for some sunshine and man, did we get it!! Temperatures were soaring and I know I’m not the only person in Milton Keynes who is sporting the lobster look this morning – thank you to the various people who shared their bottles of SPF cream with me!

I was stunned by the generosity of folk; those who donated prizes and gifts for the raffle and auction and those revellers who willingly put their hands in their pockets to oblige Stacey Ashton and Claire Elliott – my bucket shaking partners and crime – and I, as we wandered around selling raffle tickets and collecting change. And ten and twenty pound notes too. In fact, someone even threw in a nifty fifty!

The event kicked off on the Friday, rocking out with great entertainment from Benny and the Razorblades, followed by the much loved and familiar sounds of local band Spaced Out. Saturday saw lots of up and coming musicians – The Individuals opening, followed by Ryker Sear, Isabelle, Sarah Chappell & Phil Jarman, Roses & Pirates and Haunted Tranquility. Later in the day saw some familiar names including Southside Jimmy, Trouble with Tuesday, Ebony Tower, Lockdown and Mad Mods & Englishmen.

Sunday was opened by Gilly Giddings, the beautiful voice behind the Willen Hospice charity single “I’ll Be There”, written by John Hawkes. Gilly was followed by Kill The Image, Sassy Judys (sadly performing their last gig), Punkaholics, Vomit Whores (these boys are Hock’s project), The Marz, Dead Cells, Big Cheeze, MK Finest Glam Rock band The Peartree Bridge Family, Stonepit Drive, No Hot Ashes and Isac Hunt (do be careful how you say that!) ended this year’s show.

Over the next few days, links will go up on the website website to all performers, so please take a look. There will also be a gallery of images too – if you were there and you have any shots you’d like to have included, then email me.

So massive thanks to all performers and of course to our Comperes, Geoff Shuttleworth and Ronnie Bottom, who did a fabulous job with their auction hammers, raising money for the prizes gathered together by the wonderful Rona Shuttleworth and also to XS Martyn, Nigel and Munky, our sound engineers. Hard Rock Music and Marshall Amplification deserve a massive shout out, as do Roy and his fabulous team at the Yardley Gobion Recreation Centre. Thanks too, to Tudor Rose and the Goldwings for their tireless efforts throughout, to Steffi Lewis for putting the website together, Craig Barlow for the photography, Barbara Cherryman and her team at Guardian First Aid for being on hand, Drew Ormrod at The Old School Studios for video footage, Steve Axtell for helping us tout raffle tickets on Saturday, Mole and Karen from the Barrel Bikers MK for manning the charity CD stand on Sunday and also to the food and stall holders and everybody who donated a prize – and we had some great contributions!

Oh – and a personal thank you to Roger and Julia for the chicken curry and to Andy Hussey for keeping me topped up with Newcastle Brown Ale! Have I forgotten anybody? Possibly – and I’m sorry; I think sunstroke and euphoria has the better of me today! Most of all – thank you, thank you, thank you to the hundreds of people who came along – many camping, many day trippers – and gave generously in return for a great weekend of proper fun rocking out in the sun!

Events like this don’t happen by themselves; they take a lot of blood, sweat, tears and dedication to bring to you and we worked tirelessly before and during. All in all, the weekend was every bit as awesome as we’d planned and I know I speak for Paul and the whole team when I convey our deepest gratitude for the amount we raised which was beyond what we could have hoped for. People of Milton Keynes (and beyond) – you truly rock and we love you!

As I close this blog post at home in a little village called Stanford in Bedfordshire, the thunder is rolling and the rain has begun – so I guess that a vote of thanks really does go out to the Universe for giving us such great weather over the past few days.

The one burning question that is on everyone’s lips (I know, I was asked many, many times!) is “Will there be Rock It For Willen 2013? Well, you’ll have to watch this space and keep an eye on the website, however I have a good feeling about it – what say you, Hock? I bet by Rock It For Willen 2020 “No” will still really mean “Yes” … won’t it?! You’re an inspiration, my friend!

Addendum 30 May 2012: Yes! There will be Rock It For Willen 2013 – the team are all back in and the 4th year will be bigger and better than ever!

Be Outstanding!