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Street busker turns radio star

Radio star:  Preston street entertainer, Stephen Rimmer, who has played his piano accordian for the shoppers of our city for 24 years

Radio star: Preston street entertainer, Stephen Rimmer, who has played his piano accordian for the shoppers of our city for 24 years

As a street entertainer, Stephen Rimmer is used to setting toes tapping on one of Preston’s main shopping streets, with melodies from his accordion.

But now the busker is reaching the ears of many more listeners after becoming a regular fixture on a national radio show.

Stephen, 45, was spotted by radio producer Christina Percival playing outside a Debenhams store last year.

He was invited to make an appearance on Rock FM and then Key 103’s Wrong Show. Stephen was such a hit that he has since become a weekly guest, playing his accordion and joining in gags on the Sunday afternoon comedy programme, broadcast from Manchester.

It has been a spot of luck for Stephen, of Ashton, Preston, after four unsuccessful attempts to get through a Britain’s Got Talent audition in a bid to make it on TV.

He said: “Sometimes I play music on the show, but most of the time I have the mick taken out of me by Tim Shaw, the brilliant host.

“It’s great fun.

“They did a skit on me one day. I came in and they pretended Tim had had an argument and wasn’t doing the show. They told me I had to present it.

“I didn’t even know how to get the music to play and people were ringing in, saying I was a load of rubbish.

“Then they all burst through the door, laughing. It was wind-up and they recorded it and used for the intro on the next day’s show!”

Stephen is still busking to make money, including at one of his regular slots outside BHS on Fishergate, as he is not paid for his radio appearances.

He was recently given a smart new makeover by programme guests, life coaches Nik and Eva Speakman. Stephen said he enjoyed being kitted out in a new suit and given a haircut and fake tan.

However, shoppers won’t see him in his new shirt and tie on Fishergate any time soon.

He said: “It’s not what people would expect from a busker. People would be asking, ‘Where has he got all that money?’

 

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