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Buskers ready to rock the River Thames

The Cancer Research UK logo
by Cancer Research UK | News

1 June 2009

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LEGENDARY rocker Rod Stewart, Madness frontman Suggs and a host of other stars will help turn the Thames into a rock ‘n roll river at a unique waterborne busking gig later this month (June 20).

Rod and the Nutty Boys are among stars being piped aboard a ship to launch Busking Cancer week, a nationwide “gig” where bands, musicians and singers perform anywhere on the streets of Britain to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Rod and Suggs are joint patrons of Busking Cancer.

For one night only – June 20 – HMS Belfast, moored on the south bank of the River Thames, will be turned into HMS Busking Cancer. Bands will go back to their roots and play a largely acoustic set while the audience dances the night away in the shadow of Tower Bridge.

Joining Suggs on stage will be Skye Edwards (ex-Morcheeba), former Sugababe Mutya Buena, soul singer/songwriter Zarif, fresh from supporting Beyonce on tour, and the Charlie Rivers Band. Also on board will be The Feeling.

Tickets for Busking Cancer on HMS Belfast cost £20 and are available from:

Rod, who will be at the launch with wife Penny Lancaster, cannot play live on the ship because of prior commitments, but Suggs will perform with members of Madness.

Rod, who has had five decades of hits and survived thyroid cancer, is urging musicians to get out and play. He said: “Busking is what music is all about – just getting out there and singing or playing for the sheer joy of it.

“You don’t have to be a great singer or the best musician – you just have to entertain people. And if you can earn a few quid for Cancer Research UK – a few quid that might just help to save someone’s life – what could be better?”

Suggs, who has had a string of hits with Madness, said: “The beauty of Busking Cancer is that it’s really easy – get your act together, register with Cancer Research UK and go busk – it really is as simple as that.”

Busking Cancer began in 2007 with a small open air gig beneath the London Eye. Last year more than 300 bands and musicians played sessions up and down the country and raised more than £24,000. This year the initiative hopes to raise £100,000.

Busking Cancer 2009, which runs from June 20-27, is supported by guitar giants Fender. It is anticipated to be the biggest event of its kind. This year Busking Cancer has joined forces with to offer one band the chance to play at the Busking Cancer launch party.

The men behind the fundraising initiative are Mark Warrick from south London and Jamie Latty from Sussex.

Mark said: “The launch party on HMS Belfast will be a spectacular way to kick off Busking Cancer week and inspire people to get out and play in the open air for a great cause.”

Jamie said: “Busking Cancer is a fundraising initiative that has not only taken the music community by storm but is also exciting schools and closet musicians who haven’t played in a long time.

“With Rod attending and Madness performing, along with the winner of last year’s Busking Cancer and the winner of a competition from, it is going to be a great night.”

For more information or to sign up to play, visit:


About Cancer Research UK

  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
  • Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
  • Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.

For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7009 8820 or visit