Irish folk band make it to finals of talent contest

The Bolton News: Keith Bateson Keith Bateson

A TRADITIONAL Irish folk band will be flying the flag for Bolton at the finals of a Britain’s Got Talent-style competition next year where acts will battle to raise money for their chosen charity.

Just 4 The Craic impressed the Charity Challenge judging panel with their fun, foot-tapping rendition of Irish classic I’ll Tell Me Ma — despite being in their current line up only for a few months.

The six-piece band, comprising Keith Bateson, who lives in Ainsworth, along with Neil Gaskell, Lorraine Griffiths, Steve McQue, and father and son Ron Snr and Ron Jnr Ellams, are playing on behalf of Whizz Kidz, a charity which provides disabled children with wheelchairs and other mobility equipment.

The Furness Building Society’s Charity Challenge final will take place on February 8 next year at the Lancaster Grand Theatre where 13 acts will compete for a share of more than £3,000 in prize money on behalf of 12 charities.

As well as this, the winner will also get the chance to be a ‘Star for a Day’ at The Bay Radio with interviews and a recording session.

Mr Bateson said: “The video we sent in to the competition was recorded at Bolton Little Theatre’s open mic night called The Forge.

“It was only our fourth time playing together so we’re really happy to have been chosen for the final.

“We played I’ll Tell Me Ma, which is a very well known traditional song which always gets people tapping their feet.

“We haven’t decided what we’ll be playing for the final yet but we’ll give it some stick and get the place rocking.”

Mr Bateson, who plays the octave mandolin and guitar, joined the outfit this year after his previous band split up.

He said: “The band has been together for quite a few years and seen quite a few band members come and go.

“So after my old band split up I answered an online advertisement for Just 4 The Craic.”

A spokesman for Whizz Kidz said: “Whizz-Kidz would like to congratulate Keith and his band on getting to this stage in the competition, and give a huge thanks for all the fundraising he’s done for us so far.

“If they win, £3,000 goes a long way to providing a disabled child with the right mobility equipment for them — supporting them to live an active and independent childhood. And that is priceless.”

Tickets for the Charity Challenge final are available from the box office at the Grand Theatre, priced at £5 each.

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