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Big Band concert to mark the end of an era

Dennis Overton at Melksham Assembly Hall

Dennis Overton at Melksham Assembly Hall

A MELKSHAM man who has helped raise thousands of pounds for charity is now organising his last Big Band Concert after several decades. 

Dennis Overton has been organising dances to raise money for charity in and around Melksham since 1970 and has also organised the annual Mike Smith Big Band Concert in Melksham for Wiltshire Air Ambulance since the charity was formed in 1990.

However, after many years of fundraising and organising he will step down this year.

The 77-year-old has long had an affinity with the ambulance service having worked for them for  31 years, first as a paramedic and then in the control room. After he retired he decided to start organising events to keep busy, whilst also raising money for a worth cause.

This year’s concert on Saturday 11th April will be the last time he organises the Mike Smith Big Band Concert.

Dennis said, “It has got harder and harder each year as many of our supporters get older and there are fewer that can make it. Numbers have been dwindling in recent years although there is still a big desire from many to continue to dance and enjoy these events.

“I have put a lot of effort into organising it over the years and now just seems like the right time to stop, but I have enjoyed every minute.

“So far we have sold around 300 tickets for the event which is great as the Assembly Hall holds around 400.  But, I would like to sell a few more and ideally have some space for dancing left over. Having said that, we certainly wouldn’t turn anyone away and urge people to come and enjoy a great concert.

“It is something that I have always loved organising as I really enjoy big band music. We have raised thousands over the years for the charity as it needs regular support to keep running.”

After the Mike Smith Big Band concert in April there will be two final dance events. They will take place on 19th September and December 30th this year.

Dennis added, “The two extra dances are after we have had a lot of requests recently, so it only seemed right. But after that we have no more planned and that will be the end.”

The last Big Band Concert will be at Melksham Assembly Hall on Saturday 11th April, with the doors opening at 7pm and the music starting at 8pm.