If you are a fan of fabulous live music, uke were in for a treat this month as The Big Uke Jam took place at the renowned Half Moon in Putney, raising hundreds of pounds for Shooting Star Children’s Hospices.

The event was organised by music marvel and super Shooting Star Children’s Hospices volunteer Tel Smith. As an experienced ukulele teacher and running a community uke band UKewLele, he knew how readily the uke world would get behind a charity event in their club nights and gigs.

“I decided to run a mini ukuele festival called The Big Uke Jam in aid of Shooting Star Children’s Hospices so got in touch with the famous Half Moon venue in Putney, who could not have been more supportive and gave us the venue room for free!” said Tel.

With the help of his musical partner Michael Stannard and his UKewLele band members, the event started with a jam session, followed by an open mic, ukulele skills workshop and ended with a performance by his other band ‘Don’t Tell Smith’.

An audience of over 200 came along to support the event, enjoying the amazing entertainment as well as picking up some top musical tips; Kate Raison said, “I got some great tips on playing ukulele and it was great to hear background about the cause.” The event was a huge success and has raised an amazing £750.

Tel has been a volunteer at Shooting Star Children’s Hospices for around two years, offering his musical expertise to entertain, engage and enlighten supported children and their families about the fun and benefits of music. It was seeing these benefits which led Tel to organise The Big Uke Jam, “These sessions have seemed useful not only for the children to engage in music but also had the bonus of giving the parents, carers and staff a rewarding time. So it struck me that the ukulele could hopefully also provide the opportunity for some fundraising.”

Tel and his band have performed at our annual Family Fun Day for the past two years – providing a wonderful musical backdrop to the fun and games of the day. He’s also provided sensory and interactive fun for families with his sing-a-long sessions when he’s visited the hospices and on trips out to Loseley Park and Wisley Gardens.

Ellie Constable, Community Fundraiser said, “A huge thank you to Tel for everything he did to make the event possible and the fantastic amount raised! We are so lucky to have wonderful individuals, like Tel, who kindly give up their time to volunteer and share their skills and expertise to make wonderful memories for our supported families to experience. To then take his skills to help fundraise for us with events like The Big Uke Jam is just amazing and is so greatly appreciated!”

Find out how you and your local community can help babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families here.