PUNK bands who played at a sell out gig in Leigh have expressed their pride at playing in honour of late Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley.

Pete, who grew up on Milton Street in Leigh, died following a heart attack at his home in Estonia in December 2018 at the age of 63.

Four bands set up in the 70s; Fast Cars, The Drones, Notsensibles and The Distractions, as well as Benefit State, played at St Joseph's Hall on Chapel Street in Saturday, February 15.

Award-winning Salford urban poet Simon Williams compered at the event, which attracted around 200 people, and performed between each band's set.

Fans travelled far and wide from places such as Edinburgh, Bristol, Brighton, Derby ,Stoke and Brighton and met with locals from Leigh, Atherton and Tyldesley.

The gig, Ever Fallen in Love, named after the Buzzcocks biggest hit, was arranged to support a campaign to build a permanent memorial of Pete Shelley in Leigh town centre.

The bands raised the roof in five-and-a-half hours of live music, which transformed spectators back in time to the punk era.

And now the musicians have reflected on the raucous night and what it meant to them in supporting the campaign to remember Pete.

Leigh Journal:

Mike Haggis

Mike Haggis from Notsensibles said: "I first heard Pete Shelley's music when I was 15 and now at 57 it still sounds as fresh and vibrant today.

"Pete was a massive talent, and as singer in the Notsensibles, he has been a massive influence on me and many others.

"I am proud to be part of the campaign for a permanent memorial in Petes home town.

"RIP Pete, life's an illusion, love is a dream."

Leigh Journal:


Wispa from The Drones said: "Congratulations to all involved and for giving your own time and efforts to a cause that is very much in our hearts.

"A huge thank you to the punk rock family who braved the awful weather and as they always have done dug deep into their pockets and raised this fantastic amount.

"Pete Shelley will always be in our thoughts, thanks to you all."

Leigh Journal:

Alex Sidebottom

Alex Sidebottom from The Distractions said: "What people forget about Pete Shelley sometimes is the help and encouragement that he gave to other bands.

"The Distractions played with Pete and Buzzcocks back in 1977 and Pete always tried to either get us a gig or big us up to record companies.

"A true gent and he will never be forgotten."

Leigh Journal:

Steve Murray

Steve Murray from Fast Cars said: "I saw Pete and Buzzcocks for the second time early in 1978 and Pete introduced a song by saying ‘Here’s a new one’ then the band tore into ‘What do I get’, one of the most perfect pop songs I’d ever heard.

"And 42 years later we were played that song at Pete’s home town in Leigh to a sell out crowd for the Pete Shelley Memorial Campaign and it felt as fresh as the moment I first heard it.

"Thanks for the inspiration, the memories and the music Pete Shelley."

A total of £3,274.66 was raised on the night taking the current total for the campaign to £9,568.76.

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Co-founder of the Pete Shelley Memorial Campaign Paul Lally said: "I'm totally amazed by the support and backing of the campaign.

"We formed just over a year ago to ensure Pete's legacy continues to live on in Leigh.

"We believe it to be incredibly important for future generations, and if Pete's work inspires just one child from Leigh to follow their dreams just as Pete did, then our work will have served its purpose."

Ever Fallen In Love was also dedicated to Debra and Steve Garvey, who although now based in America, have been staunch supporters of the campaign throughout.

Steve was the bassist in the Buzzcocks and worked alongside Pete for many years.

The gig at St Joseph's Hall was the third successive sold out event with the previous two being held at The Abbey and The Turnpike.

It is hoped that a fourth gig, which will again draw bands together that have been associated with Pete Shelley, will take place in Leigh in June or July.

For more information about the campaign visit peteshelleymemorial.com.

Pictures: Steve White