Guitar man Alan completes marathon music challenge

Alan Scholes entertains his audience at Mount Zion Church, Cliviger as part of his 70 songs for his 70th birthday fund raising event.

Alan Scholes entertains his audience at Mount Zion Church, Cliviger as part of his 70 songs for his 70th birthday fund raising event.

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Dozens of well wishers turned out to watch retired singer Alan Scholes sing his way through 70 songs to mark his 70th birthday.

And Alan was in such fine voice he managed to sing an incredible 90 songs in the five hour session at Cliviger's Mount Zion Church.

Alan Scholes is joined by other singers for his 70 songs at 70 event

Alan Scholes is joined by other singers for his 70 songs at 70 event

He said: "It was a great day and in the end I managed to fit in 90 songs to raise £1,000 which was incredible."

Alan kicked off the session with songs he learned from his grandfather then followed this with songs from his days at Todmorden Road Junior School. He gained a scholarship to America at the age of 18 and he chose the Animals classic, The House of the Rising Sun and a Hard Days' Night by the Beatles, two classics from that time.

He also chose songs from his training days at Didsbury Teacher Training College where he shared a room with Terry Haslam who taught him a few chords and turned up on the day to join in with Alan singing O Sinner Man, Blowing In the Wind and other songs from that era.

While teaching at the former Barden High School for 32 years Alan formed a folk group with fellow teacher Neil Clark and they played at schools, hospitals and residential homes and also at charity events.

Another folk group, Prana (meaning Life Force), saw him touring churches, prisons, youth clubs, Peter Pan clubs, raising money in the market place for Christian Aid and other charities

with songs such as When I needed a Neighbour, Sound of Silence, and Nowhere Man along with some original material.

Retiring from school at the age of 50, Alan joined his wife, Pauline, who accompanied him on the piano during the evening celebration - and the BEST team (Burnley Evangelical

Schools Trust) which had been formed some ten years before by Mary Cliff, from Hurstwood Church. They took school assemblies and lunchtime clubs in 35 schools and

nurseries all over the area, often leading up to 16 sessions a week.

Alan said: "It was a great day with people from every decade of my life turning up - including Street Pastors, a group I work with regularly.

"Throughout my life I have been involved in singing, in the church choir, then a Gospel group, followed by Kids 39, praise and holiday clubs, assemblies in schools, charity events

locally and leading Sunday worship at Mount Zion, music has played a huge part in my life - and I was delighted to see so many share my

enthusiasm for it, as well as enabling it to bring back some happy memories."

And Alan promised he has not sung his last song yet adding: "There is plenty left, life is too short to stop singing, it helps to keep young at heart and is a special gift from God."

Alan came up with the idea for the sing-a-thon as something different to help raise money towards the church extension fund. Plans are in place to build the extension which will become a community space and will include a lift as many people struggle to negotiate the 20 steps leading up to the church.

The final bill for the extension stands at £280,000 and so far around £96,000 has been raised.