A ROCK legend has kicked off fundraising for one of West Dorset’s most iconic events in style.

Ian Gillan, of Deep Purple, has donated £1,000 to Guitars on the Beach 2018.

Organisers said they are ‘astonished and delighted’ at the gesture. The event, set to take place on June 16 costs £6,000 to stage.

It is the second time that Ian has come to the rescue of GOTB. In 2014, when cash-strapped organisers feared they would have to cancel the day-long visitor attraction for lack of funds, Ian saved the day with a large donation that enabled the GOTB team to hire the stage needed to put on the show.

Other local luminaries have also stepped up help GOTB go ahead this year. Author and entrepreneur Chris Barez-Brown, who lives in Uplyme, has made the opening bid of £500 in an auction which will see the highest bidder win a place in the house band at the traditional climax of GOTB, when the giant band on the sand performs the record bid songs. 

And with a donation of another £500, long-time supporters Alison and Stuart Constable, owners of West Bay’s Snack Shack, have become the first of what organisers hope will be many local businesses to sponsor GOTB. 

Also, Gabby Rabbitts, the new director of the Marine Theatre, is opening the doors there for a special fund-raising evening on April 14, when the GOTB house band and other top local musicians will perform to what is expected to be a sell-out crowd.

And Dennis Spacey, Axminster-based owner of the unique “Tukxi” three-wheeler taxi popular with visitors to Lyme, has joined the first GOTB sponsors too. 

GOTB organisers are determined to make this the best GOTB yet. Any businesses that would also like to sponsor the event or make donations should contact co-organiser Geoff Baker at geoffbaker12@btinternet.com

A spokesman said: “It is so uplifting for us that local businesses are getting behind GOTB and we hope that others will join them, as GOTB was created to attract visitors for the benefit of traders and businesses in the area.”