AN ALLONBY bar owner is doing his bit to boost a local cancer charity – by offering a free drink to anybody who buys a fundraising book that tells a remarkable story of live music in Cumbria.

Centre Stage was written by veteran music promoter Andy Park, whose career has spanned what many people regard as a “golden age” for live music in our county. For decades, Andy regularly booked legendary bands.

Among them were big names such as The Rolling Stones, The Who, and The Moody Blues, all of them icons of popular music.

Andy says his book has sold well and attracted rave reviews. He wants to turn that success into a force for good - by using the sale of his book to raise funds for The Cumberland Infirmary Cancer Unit.

Now, one of his long-time friends, Peter Blake, who runs Jack’s Surf Bar in Allonby, has pitched in to help. With the book now available from his bar, he is offering a free drink to any customer who buys a copy.

“I’ve been dealing with Andy Park since 1979,” said Peter.

“I must be one of his longest serving customers; I’m still booking bands through him every year and booked one for my 55th birthday. He’s a fantastic guy. I reckon he’s been booking bands since around 1749 when he organised a dance for Bonnie Prince Charlie at Carlisle Castle!

“I’m selling his book here at Jack’s Surf Bar and I know it’s for a good cause. Both of my parents died from cancer so it’s a cause worth supporting.”

Andy confirmed that since it was published late last year, his book has so far raised £6,250. His ambition is to raise that figure to £10,000 by Saturday, May 6, the day chosen for the coronation of King Charles III at Westminster Abbey.

“I chose that day because it would be the book’s crowning glory if it raised that much,” said Andy. “I chose the Cumberland Infirmary Cancer Unit as the good cause because it’s an illness that seems to touch every family at some time or other.

"The book is priced at £20 but because cancer touches so many people a lot of people have sent more than that - £30 or £40 in some cases. Cumbrian's are incredibly generous people."

Much of Centre Stage, priced at £20, draws upon his years as the writer of his newspaper column Andy’s Pop Talk from the Carlisle Journal. He had a front row seat as he worked with a long list of popular music legends.

The Rolling Stones, The Who, Roy Orbison, The Moody Blues, The Bee Gees… the list of top name bands and performers reads like a Who’s Who of rock and pop from the 1960s and 70s. Centre Stage is available also from Bookends in Carlisle or by emailing Andy at

Centre Stage followed the publication of Andy's earlier book, entitled Cumbria's Music Man, which recounts yet more of his work with rock and pop megastars, including The Kinks, Jimi Hendrix and The Hollies.