The Danubes

Brian Sewell, Gordon Hind, Alf Ridley, Ron Whittle and Duncan Maclean

The Danubes were formed in the 50's and the original lineup was Ronnie Whittle, Brian Sewell, Duncan Maclean, Gordon Hind and Alf Ridley. Alf Ridley was to go on to play (as Greg Ridley) with the VIPs, Spooky Tooth and Humble Pie.

The Danubes used to play at the Cameo Ballroom during the breaks taken by the Cliff Eland Band (while the band were in the Cumberland Inn getting their refreshment). They were paid 10 shillings (50p) for their two sessions.

Duncan died in a road accident making his way back from a gig in Haltwhistle on his scooter when he was only 21. His place was taken by Peter Batey.

While performing at one dance in Longtown the lads realised that there were so few people present that they were unlikely to get paid. They waited until the interval and when the curtains were closed and records were being played they packed up their gear and left through the back door. There was a near riot when the interval ended and their absence was discovered. Gordon and Ronnie had forgotten that the next day they had to deliver bread to Longtown. They did their delivering in dark glasses in case anyone recognised them.

As The Danubes became more popular they played such venues as the Cosmo, the City Hall, the Queen's Hall and City Hall in Carlisle and further afield at Wigton, Silloth, Brampton and Gretna.

The Danubes at the Gretna Hall, Carlisle
Duncan Maclean, Gordon Hind, Alf Ridley, Colin Spark and Gordon Halliwell


In 1961 the band decided to try for the big time and drove down to London for an audition with Acker Bilk's manager. Unfortunately this turned out to be a hoax but the lads enjoyed the experience in spite of getting lost on the A1 in the fog at one point and ending up back in London!