A MACMERRY couple launching a ukulele band in Macmerry Miners’ Club are already keen to tour the group around the county.

Ann Farnworth, 69, and her husband, Michael, 70, moved to Macmerry from Lancashire last year to be closer to family and said that, though they loved living in the village, as keen ukulele players they missed playing in a band.

Ann told the Courier she realised the best way to continue playing was to start a group herself – and Merry Ukes was formed.

She said: “When we lived in Lancashire, we were members of the Rossendale Ukulele Club.

“When we moved here we searched around and couldn’t find a similar group nearby so the only thing we thought we could do was to start one ourselves.

“I’ve been playing for about six years but have never had any formal tuition. I learnt the basics by attending the ukulele club and gained experience from more advanced players.

“My husband, Michael, learnt guitar about the same time and he played cajón, djembe drum and ukulele.

“Michael was the pianist for the Rossendale Male Voice Choir for over 50 years so has good musical knowledge.

“We were also members of Valley Aloud Community Choir in Rossendale and now we’re enjoying singing with the Clark Community Choir in Musselburgh – a lovely bunch of people.”

Ann advertised for new members to join the group on various social media groups and was overwhelmed by the response.

East Lothian Courier: Ann has been overwhelmed by the response to her new ukulele clubAnn has been overwhelmed by the response to her new ukulele club

She said: “The interest from the public here has been amazing. We have 20 people on our mailing list keen to attend and the numbers may increase.

“It’s important to us that the group is a happy one. We’ll meet at Macmerry Miners Club every alternate Thursday, commencing on May 4.

“We chose Macmerry Miners’ Club as our venue as it’s near our home and they made us feel very welcome when we moved here.

“The aim of Merry Ukes is to bring people together to enjoy music in a relaxed, social environment, everyone from absolute beginners to more experienced players, playing and singing together, supporting each other in a fun, no pressure group.

“We know from experience that many lasting friendships have been formed in this way.

East Lothian Courier: Ann's husband Michael has been playing in music bands for over 50 yearsAnn's husband Michael has been playing in music bands for over 50 years

“We will provide song books. The music will not be difficult, it will be easy-to-follow, basic chords and words in the usual format ukulele groups use.”

Ann hopes the group will soon be performing at events across East Lothian.

She said: “Once the group is established, we hope to take it out into the community, playing at events, charities, residential nursing homes, markets, parks, fairs and more.”

The first session, on May 4 (7.30-9.30pm) at Macmerry Miners’ Club, is £2 to attend.

Anyone interested in joining the group should email Ann at macmerryukes@gmail.com