Whitby pop star Alistair Griffin on the road to play personal shows to NHS heroes

Whitby singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin is heading out on the road to play personal shows as a thank-you to key workers, NHS staff and heroes of lockdown.

Whitby singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin performing a lockdown gig in a garden in Staithes.
Whitby singer-songwriter Alistair Griffin performing a lockdown gig in a garden in Staithes.

Last year, Alistair performed in people’s back gardens and quirky outdoor spaces on his Tour of Social Distance.

This year, he’s doing the same - but this time, his musical adventure will take him to people who’ve gone the extra mile during the Covid crisis, as well as giving a lift to those who have been isolating for long periods.

On Saturday (July 10), Alistair will be playing for Heather King in Runswick Bay, a nominee of the Lockdown Legend of sports and physical activity award.

Mum-of-two Heather has been offering free yoga sessions online throughout lockdown, and has received many messages of gratitude.

She has also found time to film yogging sessions - a fusion of yoga and jogging - and during the run-up to Christmas, she did a yoga for advent series which involved a live session every evening.

On the same day, Alistair will also be playing from the garden of Ian and Jill Swire in Runswick – the couple donated £20,000 to feed NHS heroes during lockdown.

And on Sunday (July 11) he will be playing for Sue Dicken of Moorsholm, who donated a kidney to a stranger during lockdown - a selfless act in normal times but more so during Covid.

She not only put herself at risk during the procedure and recovery but sacrificed Christmas with her family to do it, isolating for a month.

Criss-crossing the country, Alistair’s “tour with a twist” will take in several quirky places and landmarks, including pop-up shows at a lighthouse on the North-east coast, an island in the Irish Channel, a lock in the Midlands, a crazy golf course in Leicestershire and a surprise appearance at someone’s birthday.

Alistair, who hails from Castleton but lives in York, said: “The pandemic has forced us to do things differently so I’ve invented what I call ‘wild gigging’ - popping up and playing shows in strange and spectacular places.

“And restrictions permitting, I still hope to get to Ireland to play for a lady called Margaret who’s battling cancer and inspired the tour.”

All these wild and wonderful shows will be broadcast live on Facebook throughout July, with fans helping power the tour though the virtual tip jar.

Alistair - who finished runner-up on the BBC Fame Academy in 2003, is also looking for sponsorship to help take the tour a little bit further.

He said: “I’ve had a big response to the tour and would love to take the tour further to play to as many people as possible, so if there’s a business out there who’d like to sponsor it, please drop me a message.”