Sheringham Shantymen appeal for new performers to help continue a musical tradition stretching back nearly 30 years

Sheringham Shantymen founder member and musical director Brian Farrow (left) with ex-police officer

Sheringham Shantymen founder member and musical director Brian Farrow (left) with ex-police officer Bob Hawkins, who joined the group 17 years ago. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

When the Sheringham Shantymen first appeared on stage 27 years ago, chart topping acts included Fern Kinney, Odyssey and St Winifred's School Choir.

The Sheringham Shantymen on Fishermen's Slope. Picture: CHRIS TAYLOR PHOTO

The Sheringham Shantymen on Fishermen's Slope. Picture: CHRIS TAYLOR PHOTO - Credit: Archant

But, while most people would have trouble remembering many of the bands of the early 1980s, the north Norfolk songsters have stood the test of time, and as well as still doing up to 40 gigs a year, they have recently released their seventh CD.

The group was formed as a spin-off from a one-off performance by a team of RNLI crew members, who got together to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sheringham's Augusta lifeboat.

The Shantymen set off on tour to the US in 2001. Photo: SAM ROBBINS

The Shantymen set off on tour to the US in 2001. Photo: SAM ROBBINS - Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers

After their first appearance at Sheringham Little Theatre in early 1980, their numbers swelled and the Shantymen began not only receiving bookings for festivals, weddings and town events, but were also asked to appear on TV shows including Blue Peter, Children in Need and Channel 4's Big Breakfast.

They went on to perform all over the UK at events including the London Boat Show and maritime festivals at Falmouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, also travelling to Germany, Holland, France and America and touring lifeboat stations all over southern Ireland.

The Sheringham Shantymen after they took over the running of Oddfellows Hall in 2013. The hall, whic

The Sheringham Shantymen after they took over the running of Oddfellows Hall in 2013. The hall, which is now self-funding, is used as a community space, and by the group for rehearsals. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant


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Sheringham lifeboat operations manager and Shantymen musical director Brian Farrow, who is the only remaining founder member of the group, put their popularity down to a focus on harmony, a strong committee and a wide range of skills and voices.

'We've had policemen, doctors, a barrister an electrician,' he said. 'And from organising gigs, to doing publicity, it's that wide skillset that makes us work.'

The Shantymen performing at St Peter's Church, Sheringham. Picture: KAREN BETHELL

The Shantymen performing at St Peter's Church, Sheringham. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

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Mr Farrow, 72, added that while, over the years, the group had raised tens of £1,000s for the RNLI and other charities, fundraising was a secondary concern.

'It's just a by-product really,' he explained. 'And I think that what has given us longevity is that we come alive in front of an audience, there's a tremendous social side to it and we get a huge amount of enjoyment out of performing.

The Shantymen on Sheringham beach. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UK

The Shantymen on Sheringham beach. Picture: CHRISTAYLORPHOTO.CO.UK - Credit: Archant

Future plans include making a recording of the classic hit Sailing with youngsters from Sheringham Primary School and working on recruiting new singers and musicians.

'For me, being part of the Shantymen has almost become a way of life and it has certainly taken me to places I would never have been,' Mr Farrow said.

The Sheringham Shantymen pictured in 2006. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

The Sheringham Shantymen pictured in 2006. Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

The Sheringham Shantymen would be pleased to hear from experienced singers and musicians interested in joining them. For more information, phone 01263 824311.

The group will be hosting a concert with special guest Keith Skipper at Cromer Pier theatre at 7pm on October 22. Tickets, priced £10 (£9 concessions) are available from the box office on 01263 512495

Sheringham Shantymen (from left) Brian Farrow, Eddie Bailey and Jim Bain working on a CD at St Peter

Sheringham Shantymen (from left) Brian Farrow, Eddie Bailey and Jim Bain working on a CD at St Peter's Church in 2007. Photo: Karen Bethell - Credit: Archant

The Sheringham Shantymen. Photo: SHERINGHAM SHANTYMEN

The Sheringham Shantymen. Photo: SHERINGHAM SHANTYMEN - Credit: Archant

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