A MEMBER of the George Formby Appreciation Society is on a mission to get people strumming.

Stuart Mayall, 51, is inviting fans of Wigan-born George to sign up for an official ukelele group in Newton-le-Willows.

He is inviting players of ukeleles, guitars and other instruments – mainly acoustic – to come along.

The first meeting takes place at the Pied Bull Hotel in High Street, Newton-le-Willows on March 16 at 7.30pm.

Stuart said: "I'm delighted to have had it approved as an official group by the committee of the George Formby Appreciation Society.

"There's quite a lot of George Formby fans around here, and it will be a good chance to meet like-minded people, have a chat and play or sing some songs.

"People don't have to be musicians, anyone with an interest in George Formby and that kind of music is welcome.

"Instruments should be mainly acoustic - we don't want any thrash metal!"

Stuart, who has been playing guitar and ukelele for around 30 years, says he got into George Formby through being a fan of former Beatle George Harrison.

He said: "I'm a big George Harrison fan. I used to produce a Harrison fanzine called 'Piggies' in the early 80s. He was a massive George Formby enthusiast and that's how I got into him.

"A few years ago, I joined the appreciation society and have been to some conventions, they're great!"

He says his favourite music includes rock, pop and jazz.

The music group sessions will be held in a raised bar area in the pub, and the group is free to attend, with refreshments available during an interval.

Stuart, who is self-employed, is looking for someone to help him run the group.

He said: "It wouldn't involve too much work - just a bit of organising. I'm going to start out by holding it fortnightly but if that proves to be too often, I'll change it to a monthly group."

Anyone interested in helping Stuart run the group can contact him on 07952 905784 or by email stuart.mayall@virgin.net.