James Blunt delights fans at Hoghton Tower

from left, Nichola Rhodes, Julie Rhodes, Kelly Anderson and Rae Currie from Freckleton at the James Blunt concert
from left, Nichola Rhodes, Julie Rhodes, Kelly Anderson and Rae Currie from Freckleton at the James Blunt concert
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It’s true, the weather might not have been beautiful but that didn’t stop thousands of fans from having a blast as St Catherine’s Hospice’s annual Symphony At the Tower got underway last night.

Multiple platinum selling singer-songwriter James Blunt, who shot to fame with the 2005 megahit You’re Beautiful, got festivities underway headlining a rain soaked Friday night ahead of Katherine Jenkins’ stint behind the mic on Saturday with the National Symphony Orchestra.

James Blunt concert at Symphony at Hoghton Tower

James Blunt concert at Symphony at Hoghton Tower

For many, Blunt is a bit of a marmite figure – you either hate him or aren’t sure if he’s okay or not – but the 3,000-strong crowd who braved the wind and rain at Hoghton Tower on Friday were unashamed in their adoration for the former army-captain-come-soft-rock-troubadour.

From the opening chords of So Far Gone, the windswept crowd whooped, hollered and sang along.

Even some of the more reluctant males – presumably dragged along by their other halves – couldn’t resist a cheeky singalong with hits Wisemen and Goodbye My Lover.

Brenda Gill, 47, from Walton-le-Dale, couldn’t contain herself. “Six times I’ve seen him. He’s wonderful. I just love him. Rain or shine, I’d have been here. Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she said.

Earlier in the evening Ribble Valley duo The Remedy – made up of singer-songwriter Hannah Spurgeon and bassist Elliott Dryden – warmed up the crowd with their mellow, acoustic sound.

But it was Blunt who got things underway proper, rocking the crowd with a selection of his hits as well as new songs from his latest album, Moon Landing.

Lorraine Charlesworth, of St Catherine’s Hospice, was delighted with the show.

She said: “We were over the moon to welcome so many people to the first night of our Symphony at the Tower 2014 weekend – the atmosphere was amazing and James Blunt put on an incredible show.

“We want to say a big thank you to everyone who came along and showed their support for St Catherine’s Hospice – including several James Blunt fans who had travelled from far and wide.

“Not only is the event raising vital funds to support our work caring for those affected by life-shortening conditions, it is also raising awareness of St Catherine’s and the importance of hospice care with many new supporters.

“We’re now excitedly looking forward to the second night of our Symphony weekend when Katherine Jenkins will take to the stage to perform in this beautiful spot. We’d love to see you there!”

- Tickets can still be bought on the door for Saturday’s concert. Gates open at 6pm (the car park opens at 5pm). For more information visit www.stcatherines.co.uk

- For more pictures from Hoghton Tower, see Monday’s Evening Post.