UKULELE player Geoff Lilley has an amazing following of fans who sing along to his music – his dogs and a parrot!
Geoff has three West Highland Terrier dogs – Heather, aged six, Nessie, aged nine, and 13-year-old Morag, who love nothing more than practising singing (or howling) at their home in Fens Crescent.
The 62-year-old also has a an African Grey parrot named Coco, who occasionally joins in too.
The doggy trio burst into poochy song every time Geoff whistles, plays his mouth organ or his melodeon, and in fact, they even start to howl when he so much as picks up the instruments.
But the instrument they like the most is Geoff’s ukulele, at which they go “absolutely crazy”, forcing him to set up the Hartlepool Ukulele Group so he can get out of the house to practice without his vocalists joining in.
Geoff, leader of town political group Putting Hartlepool First, told the Mail: “The best singer is our Heather, and Nessie and Morag are like her backing singers. They’ve done it for ages. I noticed it first when I picked up my mouth organ and started playing. They would go mad! They love it and get so excited, wagging their tails and jumping up and down on their front legs.”
“I’d even go into the conservatory out of their way so I could play and practise on the ukulele but they would still hear it and go absolutely crazy. It was ridiculous and I used to think about the neighbours.
“That was one of the reasons why I wanted to set the ukulele group up. I didn’t want to stop playing because I love the ukulele so much, but I couldn’t do it in the house any more because of the way the dogs go on.
“It’s every single time guaranteed, there’s never a time when they won’t perform. I’ve even gone out to places with the dogs thinking they’d run around while I played the ukulele but even if they get the faintest whisper of the music it sets them off.”
The dad, step-dad and grandad added: “Then there’s the parrot, he’s most vocal first thing on a morning when you take his cover off, and then on an evening too. He sings the theme tune to the Radio 4 programme The Archers.
“It’s a very musical household but I’m sure there are a lot better out there than this troop!”
Geoff will be escaping from his musical pets this Saturday when he will be performing with the Hartlepool Ukulele Group in the foyer of Tesco, in Belle Vue Way, Hartlepool, between 10.30am and 11.30am, to help the supermarket raise cash for Comic Relief.
Do you have any quirky melodious pets? If so, get in touch with our newsdesk on (01429) 239380.