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Man helps create fund in memory of Shadow

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The Thatcham man helped set up the fund to help with cancer research and to keep musician, Jet Harris's name alive

A THATCHAM man has for the past six months been helping to set up a memorial fund for a former member of British pop group The Shadows, who died earlier in the year.

Music enthusiast Rob Bradford, of Humber Close, was asked by the partner of former Shadows bassist, Terence ‘Jet' Harris, to help set up the fund.

Mr Harris died, aged 71, on March 18 of cancer of unknown primary site (CUP), which means that doctors did not know where his cancer had started, so it was more difficult to treat.

The aim of the Jet Harris Memorial Fund is to both keep the musician's name alive and to raise funds for research into CUP.

Mr Bradford was asked by Jet Harris' partner, Janet Hemingway, to write and read the eulogy at Jet Harris' funeral, after Mr Bradford got to know him in the 1980s.

Other guests at the funeral included fellow band members of The Shadows, which was popular in the late 1950s and early '60s, including Bruce Welch (guitarist and singer) and Brian Bennett (drummer).

Mr Bradford, who has a background in teaching and music journalism, said that he felt privileged to have been asked to help set up the fund alongside others.

He said: “It's not the most straightforward thing in the world – setting up an official organisation – there are guidelines and regulations.

“I'm quite proud of it, but I feel I'm still an ordinary person and an ordinary fan.”

It was a chance meeting that brought Jet Harris and Mr Bradford together in the 1980s.

The musician was making a comeback from several spells of alcoholism and Mr Bradford had been invited by his father-in-law to a party in Gloucester in which Jet Harris was playing.

Mr Bradford recommended Jet Harris' new record to Record Collector magazine and the pair's friendship went from there.

Mr Bradford said: “For a while he held it together. He had managed to build himself up again and get more professional groups to back him.

“I just kept promoting any releases he had; I think he was quite surprised because I never asked him for anything.

“Five weeks before he died, he was going to do a gig for Help for Heroes, even though the doctors told him not to – that's the side of him that not many people saw.”

Mr Bradford said that he was working to build up the memorial fund “to help Jet's memorial and, hopefully, if it raises some money, then great.”

The fund was officially launched at Shadowmania, an event held at the Lakeside Country Club, Frimley Green, Surrey recently.

For more information about the fund or to donate to it visit www.jetharrismemorialfund.org

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