New tricks: Hornchurch band made up of retired people raises funds for Saint Francis Hospice
PUBLISHED: 15:00 30 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:01 30 August 2019
A group of pensioners who decided to spend their retirement learning how to play new instruments have raised more than £4,000 for a hospice charity.
Ziatika Essex is made up of nine people, four of whom learnt a new instrument when they retired.
After Barry Newton, 73, retired in 2014 from his job as a lecturer at Landaff College in Wandsworth, he decided to fulfil his childhood dream of learning to play the drums.
He told the Recorder: "I played the drums a little bit when I was 12 and I've always loved them.
"I asked myself what I wanted to do after I retired and I knew that was it.
"I went to a local teacher and she showed me the basics.
"At first I was playing indoors on my own, but then we started picking up various people."
The band gets its name from sciatic nerve pain and they chose to support Saint Francis Hospice's charity with their performances.
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Ziatika Essex comprises Mick Holland on lead guitar, Mick Barrett on rhythm guitar, Steve Davis on bass guitar, Chris West on keyboard and four singers; Roy Weston, Pat Newton, Sue Collier and Sue Barrett.
They have retired from a variety of professions, including a telephone engineer, city broker, accountant, cab co-ordinator and one member who worked in shipping.
The Hornchurch Conservative Club kindly lets the band use their space in North Street to practise and perform.
At the band's most recent event, they raised £769.50 for Saint Francis Hospice.
This brings the total amount they have raised from their performances for the Havering-atte-Bower hospice to £4,496.66.
The band play mostly music from the 50s, 60s and 70s with songs by Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and Cliff Richard.
"We thoroughly enjoy it and we're all very good friends," said Barry.
"There are no prima donnas.
"We push each other and make sure everyone gets a chance to get involved."
Ziatika Essex will next play at St George's Church in Southend Road, Rainham on Saturday, September 21 from 7pm to 9pm.