We're expecting this year’s event to attract hundreds of enthusiasts to our region and raise hundreds of pounds for Alzheimer’s research. This is all part of Chrysta's fundraising drive, which will also see her walking 70 kilometres along the Great Wall of China this October, for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Her dad Malcolm Sparks, 72, pictured in the top hat above, is a keen ukulele player and decided to organise the charity festival as a way for people to have fun and support a worthy cause at the same time. He has been astounded by the way it’s taken off.
This year’s festival, which will be taking place at Skipsea Village Hall, starts on Friday 21 April with a ticketed event to include a Pie and Pea Supper and cabaret style performances from acts such as the Filey Ramshackle Shanty Man and the Ten Foot Ukes from Hull.
The main festival starts at noon on Saturday 22 April and will include a range of ukulele performances, open mic sessions and workshops.
“The 2016 event was popular but this year it’s generating even more interest,” said Malcolm. “It’s attracting people from all over to play and watch, including Cumbria and Nottingham – we’ve even had enquiries from Japan!
“In 2016, 300 people attended and we raised £500 for the Alzheimer’s Society. We’re hoping this latest event will generate considerably more.”
As well as organising the event, Village Farm Marquees is providing the staging and lighting. Other local companies are also helping out, including Yorkshire Coast Hog Roast, which is providing the catering. There will also be chance to win raffle prizes donated by local businesses.
Malcolm discovered his passion for all things ukulele in retirement. After moving North from London with Tony and Chrysta six years ago, he joined a local choir and met someone who played the ukulele. This inspired him to learn to play and he then graduated to crafting ukuleles. Together with his fellow enthusiasts, he’s also raised funds for Hornsea Cottage Hospital and entertains care home residents around the region.
“Ukulele playing is an extremely popular art form and I keep discovering new groups dotted around our region, since running the annual festival,” continued Malcolm.
“I think that’s because it’s a very simple and accessible instrument to play, and produces such fun music and a sociable atmosphere.”
Malcolm and Chrysta are urging as many people as possible to come along and enjoy what promises to be a really good family knees-up.
“This is about supporting our family and our local community, and raising money for a good cause that is really close to all our hearts,” said Chrysta.
Chrysta decided to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society because her Granddad Allenby Leslie suffered from the disease before he died, in 2009. She’s always dreamed of visiting China and is now fulfilling that goal by raising a minimum of £3,000 for the charity.
She will be hiking 70 kilometres over six days, along the section of wall that spans the Yanshan Mountains in northern China. It includes the so-called ‘Heaven’s Ladder’, 2,000 steps up a cliff face.
She is working with highly regarded personal trainer Katherine Felgate, of Body Bootcamp & Personal Training Services Ltd, to get into peak shape for the challenge. With Katherine’s help, she has dropped two dress sizes and lost over two stones, since embarking on a new fitness regime just months ago.
Chrysta and Tony decided to sell up their highly strung life in London six years ago, after losing a couple of much-loved relatives made them re-evaluate what mattered most. As well as Village Farm Marquees, they own the Village Farm B&B in Skipsea.
Of her charity challenge and the Ukulele Festival, Chrysta said: “Being part of our community and raising much-needed funds for good causes is very important to Tony and I.
“We’ve been involved in a number of charity initiatives over the years, but this one is particularly dear to our hearts. Alzheimer’s is such a nasty illness and, despite its growing prevalence, research into preventing it doesn’t get as much support as some other charities do. So in our own, small way we hope to do our bit to help change that.” The Ukulele Festival will run from Noon to 10pm on Saturday 22 April, Entry is £5 at the door. All are welcome and food and drink will be available – as well as lots of toe tapping music. The Pie and Pea Cabaret on Friday 21st April starts at 7pm and tickets must be purchased in advance at £10 each. They are available via the dedicated Facebook page at
or by emailing Malcolm directly at email@example.com.