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Ash star Mark Hamiliton gives dad a hand crafting bracelets to give charity £7k boost

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Neil Hamilton with his bracelets for Cancer Focus NI

Neil Hamilton with his bracelets for Cancer Focus NI

Neil Hamilton with his son, Mark, bass player with Ash

Neil Hamilton with his son, Mark, bass player with Ash

Neil Hamilton with his bracelets for Cancer Focus NI

The bassist of one of Northern Ireland's biggest rock bands has joined forces with his dad to craft bracelets out of guitar strings to help Cancer Focus NI as part of its Father Day campaign.

Mark Hamiliton, who is a member of Ash, and his dad, Neil, started the project a year ago and since then the customised bangles have been snapped up by fans.

The father and son team have now raised £7,000 for the charity, which has had to suspend many of its services for local cancer patients and their families, and has furloughed most staff due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity has also had to postpone its fundraising events, so donations are even more vital during the current crisis.

The latest batch of bracelets are from guitar and bass strings played during Ash's recent European tour, which was cancelled half-way through. Over the last year, Mark's dad has made hundreds of bangles as souvenirs from a host of the band's concerts played all over the world.

Mark, who said he hopes to be back on tour once the pandemic is over, said: "Thanks so much to all the Ash and Snow Patrol fans who have supported our #RockBangle project for Cancer Focus NI.

"So far we have raised around £7,000 and hope to sell more bracelets once our tour recommences, whenever that may be.

"Big gratitude also to dad, who's worked so hard on making these bangles in his wee shed, and Happy Father's Day to him from my lockdown home in Northumberland."

Mark donated the proceeds of the bracelets to Cancer Focus NI because of his mum, Miriam, who has now thankfully survived cancer three times. Miriam has received great support from Cancer Focus NI over the years. She is also one of the founder members of the charity's support group in Downpatrick, helping other women who've been diagnosed with cancer.

Mark, who sells the bangles on his social media channels, explained that making the bracelets is a team effort.

"I weave and cut the strings to size and my dad solders the joints together, making what was an ugly joint into something that resembles a metal pearl," he explained.

"They look nice, but raw and rustic. I want them to retain a bit of that rock 'n' roll aesthetic."

Rosie Forsythe, from Cancer Focus NI, said: "We can't thank Mark and his dad enough for all their hard work and generosity. Cancer Focus NI relies on donations for over 90% of our income."

To make a donation or for further information, please visit www.cancerfocusni.org.

Belfast Telegraph