The Surfers Beat Group was formed in 1963 in Praa Sands, Cornwall. Originally named The Nitewalkers, the group consisted of: Phil Blake, aged 13 on Drums, Graham Cheetham, 17 on Bass guitar, Simon Edwards 15 on Lead guitar and Tony Lawry 16 on Rhythm guitar, playing instrumentals from the Shadows, Surfaris, Chantays, etc.
Phil’s Father, George, was an electronics expert and very supportive to the group. After building a set of amplifiers for the group, he became their Manager and supplied the transport to and from gigs. In the beginning, they were allowed to use Germoe Church Hall for rehearsal and after performing a couple of ‘open air’ gigs for local charities it was suggested that they change their name to ‘The Surfers’ due to their involvement with the beach and the local life saving club. The name was adopted and, as a gesture of thanks for the free use of the Church Hall, the group performed at a Carol Service in Germoe Church in December 1963, repeating the Carol Service at Breage Church in January 1964
They moved to George’s factory (Western Electronics) for rehearsals in 1964 and also held their own regular weekly dances on Friday nights at the St.Thomas’ Hall, Marazion (from April 1964 to September 1965) that is where they decided to add a vocalist to our line-up. Several were auditioned and it was decided to try some of them out at our regular Friday night gigs at Marazion. Some of them never turned up but Keith Strick did and proved very popular with our regular supporters at St.Thomas’ Hall so he became the ‘fifth Surfer’.
In March 1964 they came fourth in Cornwall’s ‘Rock & Rhythm Championships’ at Truro City Hall out of twenty groups.
They successfully covered an area from The Lizard across to Newquay right down to Land’s End from late 1964 to 1966, playing with some of the great bands of the era including Tony D & the Shakeouts, Dave Dee & the Bostons (aka Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich), The Meddy Evils, Dantaleon's Chariot, Deuce Coup, The Symbols, Mac Sound, The Swingin' Blue Jeans, The Love Affair, Eric Clapton (prior forming Cream), Gino Washington & the Ram-Jam Band, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Cupid's Inspiration and Deep Purple.
A typical set-list
would usually include;
A Hard Day's Night
Bits And Pieces
Can't Buy Me Love
I Feel Fine
Just One Look
No Particular Place To Go
She Loves You
Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Ticket To Ride
In the summer of 1965, Graham was due to go on to College so they recruited Alex Wilson, another local lad, as their new bass player and in September, Graham departed to join his college in Weybridge, Surrey.
All went well until Phil announced his decision to leave the group to try his hand as a full time professional drummer in the north. This meant that George would not continue as our manager so sadly ‘The Surfers’ were forced to disband in the autumn of 1966.
Alex Wilson (bass), Phil Blake (drums), Keith Strick
(vocals), unknown fan (she organised the dances),
Simon Edwards (lead) and Tony Lawry (rhythm).
1965, Alex Wilson
(bass) and Phil Blake (Drums)
Simon Edwards sadly passed away
Phil Blake continued to play in small pub/club bands, but had to give up drumming in the 90s after suffering a brain haemorrhage He tragically died in a fire at St.Teresa's Cheshire Home in 2005.
Graham Cheetham emigrated to South Africa, but sadly died in 2001 due to complications of the diabetes he suffered with for much of his life.
Keith Strick joined Circuit 5, singing in a local choir after the band disbanded. He sadly lost his battle with cancer in 2007.
Tom Lawry worked as a draughtsman and green keep at Praa Sands Golf Club, before taking over his fathers business. He still plays guitar and surfs.
Alex Wilson settled up country to live and work.