CONTRIBUTION TO THE ARTS: Music man Tony Bleach is nominated

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For the past 36 years Tony Bleach has been bringing his passion for the sounds of country music to people across the area thanks to the Chichester Country Music Club.

And for his unstinting work with the group he has been nominated for an Observer Community Award in the Contribution to Arts in the Community category.

Over the years he has helped numerous coachloads of music fans get to concerts in London to see artists such as Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell and Tammy Wynette and during his spare time he travels across the south of England to see bands before he books them, ensuring members of his group hear only the best music.

Events are held regularly at Lavant Village Hall as well as freestyle dance events and Irish dance evenings. The evenings offer people a chance to forget the outside world and have fun and meet others, while enjoying music of a high standard.

Tony’s outstanding service was recognised by County Music Magazine last year and he was even chosen to appear on their front cover.

Described as hardworking and having a great sense of humour, Tony has given much to the community. Known as Mr Lavant, he received the MBE and over the years has been involved with all the groups and associations in the village.

The group is run by a seven-strong committee, which includes Geoff Cresswell, who has known Tony for many years.

“Nothing is too much bother for Tony, he has been a stalwart,” he said.