SWING singer Frankie Martin finished his charity pub tour this week with a last gig in Kimberley where he raised a whopping £3,352 in one night.
Frankie, aka Ian Campbell, wanted to round the tour off at the Miners’ Welfare in his home town and perform the gig in memory of his dad, Tex.
People came from as far away as Newcastle, Kent, London and even Scotland, and Frankie said he was ‘utterly overwhelmed’ by it all.
“It sounds like a cliché but I was utterly overwhelmed. People that I had met at other gigs came from all over the country.
“They said they wanted to be there at the end because it was such a great thing. I didn’t know they were coming.”
Frankie raised a total of £140,301 for Help For Heroes – £120,000 more than he planned – after touring the country, living out of his van and performing at pubs every night for a whole year.
The welfare on Eastwood Road was packed for the last gig on Tuesday, where the singer raised more than he had on any other throughout the year-long tour.
“My home town did me proud,” he said. “To turn out like that on a Tuesday night and raise the most I’ve raised the whole tour. I can’t speak highly enough. The people were fantastic and the staff even worked for nothing.”
The night after Tuesday’s big finale, Frankie performed at Whitchurch where someone had enjoyed his previous gig there so much he said he would personally donate £500 to Help For Heroes if Frankie returned.
“As soon as I opened my mouth his wife thought I was the best thing since sliced bread,” Frankie said.
“He said to me ‘I have known this woman for 48 years and I’ve never seen her have such a good time’. He said ‘If you come back I’ll give you £500’.”
Frankie said he had a ‘huge sense of self-worth’ after reaching the end of the tour and achieving his goal.
“I’m tired, but kind of relieved I think as well,” he added. “I’m not sure how I feel yet really.
“The gig in Kimberley was very emotional. I didn’t expect it (the tour) to be anywhere near what it has been.”
The singer has praised the public throughout the tour for their generosity.
“I’m so proud of the Great British public,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what nationality people are, we are all the same. People are really wonderful and really understand and support the duty of people working in the forces.
The talented singer said he had learnt a lot through living out of a van for a year.
“You don’t need much in life,” he said. “If you’ve got shelter, warmth and food you’re alright.”
Frankie slept in temperatures that plummeted to as low as -14 degrees.
Frankie, who chose Help for Heroes because his dad was in the RAF for 22 years, released a single on Monday called Forever In Your Heart and all the proceeds will go to the same charity.