THE quaint and soothing strum of hundreds of ukuleles filled the air all day long as music lovers joined forces to raise money for charity.
Crowds gathered for the event, known as Pompulele, in Portsmouth on Saturday to raise money for the Rocky Appeal – which is paying for the Da Vinci robot at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
The event, which was organised by the Pompey Pluckers, aimed to unite amateur players from across the region.
Hundreds turned up to the event at the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union in Cambridge Road, strumming along to tunes all day long.
Helen Deacon from the Pompey Pluckers said: ‘We are so pleased and honestly overwhelmed by both the support and the talent that has come through today.
‘This is what ukulele playing is all about – and have also managed to raise more than £1,000 in the process.
‘We have a couple of members who have personally benefitted from the Da Vinci robot’s operations, so it is a very important thing for us and we’re thrilled to make a contribution to it.’
Ukulele players from across the region say that the day was a huge success.
Richard Coombs, 68 from Cowplain, said: ‘I have been a ukulele player for about five years now, but this is the first time I have been to an event like this.
‘This whole event has been a really good laugh – nobody is taking it too seriously, which makes for a very relaxed atmosphere.
‘I’m with the Wacky Wednesdays and we performed towards the end of the day – I was really looking forward to it because I’ve never performed to a crowd quite this big before.’
Bob Davis, 81 from Horndean, and also from the Wacky Wednesdays, said: ‘We perform at a lot of hospitals, so to do something in aid of the Da Vinci robot is very special for us.
‘They say music is good for your health and good for the soul – so it was a very upbeat day.’
Julie Whitehood, 67, from Emsworth, said: ‘This is the first time I have been to something like this in Portsmouth, but it has also been really good fun.’
The Da Vinci robot at QA Hospital is used to perform keyhole surgery on patients.
Currently, the machine is on lease, with the Rocky Appeal fundraising the remaining money needed by the hospital.