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The 'Privateers tribute concert to Percy French at St. Peter's on Paddy's Night

A Percy French Tribute Concert will be held by musical trio, 'The Privateers' at St Peter's Church Hall on St Patrick's night, 17th March at 7pm. It will be Free entry/refreshments with all donations to St. Joseph's Hospice.

Visitors from all over the world come to visit the Formby grave of Percy French, a famous Irish entertainer who wrote many well-known songs and poems besides painting watercolours. He travelled the world with his banjo singing his songs.

William Percy French was born on May Day 1854. In 1891, his first wife, Ettie, died in childbirth, as did his baby daughter. He toured the country on his bicycle with a box of paints, painting and performing. He developed a one-man show, where he sang the songs he composed.

At the age of fifty, French moved to London and performed on stage until he took ill in Glasgow on 16th January, 1920 and on the way home to his beloved Ireland made a detour to his cousin in Formby, Canon John Richardson, to recover. Unfortunately, his condition worsened and he died on 24th January, to be buried in St. Luke's churchyard.

His grave continues to be a place of pilgrimage for world travellers - especially Irish people, many of whom are members of the 'Percy French Society'.

The musical trio, 'The Privateers', will be holding a tribute concert to Percy French at St Peter's Church Hall on St Patrick's night 17th March at 7pm. It is Free entry with refreshments. Donations to St. Joseph's Hospice.

The 'Privateers' tell 'Percy's' life story interspersed with many of his well-known songs including 'Abdul Abulbul Ameer', 'Phil the Fluter's Ball', 'Are You Right There Michael', 'Come Back Paddy Reilly', 'Gortnamona' and 'The Mountains of Mourne'.

Percy did a lot for the Formby community, he stayed at the vicarage in 1889 and helped to raise money to build a school. He was a talented songwriter, a poet, a painter, an author and an entertainer. It is amazing that he is buried here in Formby.

The tribute concert is open to everyone and is free of charge. No tickets necessary but any donations would be appreciated in the collection at the end.

Here are a couple of Percy's poems that we quite liked:

Remember Me - Poem by William Percy French Remember me is all I ask, And yet If the remembrance prove a task, Forget.

By William Percy French

If I Should Die Tonight - Poem by William Percy French

"If I should die tonight And you should come, And stand beside me, Lying cold and dumb, And if while standing there, You whispered low, 'Here's the ten pounds You lent me years ago,' I would arise, although they'd laid me flat, And say, 'What's that?'

If I should die tonight But rose to count With trembling fingers, That long lost amount I might live on; But when You said' Here's your umbrella And your fountain pen,' For one short space I'd gaze into thy face And then Drop dead again."

By William Percy French

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