IT WAS hardly ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ weather for a visit by an Elvis Presley lookalike to the Dispatch district.
A good pair of wellington boots would perhaps have been more appropriate when Simon Patrick, known as The Rebel, entertained for the annual Picnic In The Park, organised by Hucknall’s Friends of Chernobyl’s Children (FOCC).
But a sharp downpour during the evening did not dampen the spirits of about 200 revellers who attended the event at Hayes Farm, Newstead. Simon asked his audience: “Pretend you’re at Glastonbury.”
The event was attended by 15 youngsters and two teachers from Belarus, who were this year’s guests of the FOCC and stayed with host families.
Simon, who lives partly in Spain and partly in Northampton, travelled from Benidorm and made his way from Stansted Airport in Essex on the day of his concert.
In the first half of his act, he reeled off early Presley hits, including ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’, ‘Teddy Bear’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’.
After the interval and a change of outfit, he launched into such smash-hit numbers as ‘The Wonder of You’, ‘Way Down’ and ‘Suspicious Minds’, by which time a lot of the audience were dancing to the music.
On a cold night most untypical of June, the Belarus youngsters warmed the hearts of those present with a dance display, arranged by the two teachers, to tunes which included the theme from the film, ‘Titanic’, and ‘Hit The Road, Jack’.
Kim Challand, who organised the Picnic In the Park, said it was the best so far in terms of atmosphere.
Other activities for the ‘Chernobyl’s Children’ included a rain-affected session at Broad Valley Riding School, Bestwood Village, and a day of dance at Seymour Road Baptist Church, Hucknall. A fancy-dress party was held at Hucknall’s Royal British Legion Club last night (Thursday) and the visitors will be leaving for home from Manchester Airport tomorrow (Saturday).
n OUR PHOTOS show the youngsters with Elvis impersonator Simon and enjoying horse-riding in Bestwood Village — DISPICS NHUD12-1622-2 and 12-1598-3.