Bands unite for fund-raising gig in memory of caring Longton … – Stoke-on-Trent Live

The gig will raise money for a memorial wall for firefighters who have passed away – including musician Dave Hill
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Rockers will take to the stage in a memorial gig to pay tribute to a dedicated firefighter and talented musician. The special concert comes around 12 months after Dave Hill, who performed with popular indie band Magnetic Jellyfish, sadly passed away.
Along with turning out with the Potteries band Dave had also been with Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service for 31 years and was based at Longton Fire Station. Now 'Dhilly Fest' will take place on Sunday (January 15) – with funds going to help create a memorial plaque at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service Memorial Garden.
The special memorial wall will play host to the names of firefighters who have passed away while service – either through their job or through illness. And lead singer of Magnetic Jellyfish, Keith Pilling, says Dave was one of the most caring people he'd ever met.
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StokeonTrentLive reported how Dave passed away at the Royal Stoke University Hospital on January 2 last year – with those who knew the 51-year-old describing him as a 'hero' and a 'top guy'. Firefighters went on to form a guard of honour at Longton Fire Station on the day of Dave's funeral where a fire engine – decorated with a 'DHILLY' floral tribute – joined the procession.
Dave, of Longton, had worked as an on-call firefighter since August 1990 before joining as a full-time firefighter in October 2000. He'd been based in Hanley and Burton before being made crew manager in Longton in the December before his death.
On Sunday fellow musicians will turn out in tribute to Dave at Dhilly Fest – which will take place at the Eleven venue on Sandyford's Newfields Industrial Estate. The gig – which will run from 2pm until 10pm – will feature Magnetic Jellyfish, who will be joined by Fat Lip, Neverate and The Moon Dogs.
Keith Pilling, lead singer of Magnetic Jellyfish, says Dave was 'like a brother' to him – and remembers the support he gave fellow guitarist Sean Latham, when he was diagnosed with bowel cancer.
Keith, of, Blurton, said: "He was one of the most caring people I have ever met. I loved him to bits and he was like a brother to me.
"He was always there for everybody else no matter what was going on in his life. When the other guitarist, Sean Latham, had bowel cancer he was around his house all the time.
"He knew how to cheer people up, even when he felt down. When Sean was in hospital he made him a bag with bits in. Sean asked the nurse to pass him the bag and the nurse said to him 'I think your friends really like you.' There were crayons in it and a dinosaur!"
Dave even fund-raised with other bands to help purchase an extremely rare guitar that Sean wanted – a Fender '75 Block Custom Telecaster 60th anniversary. Not many of those guitars were made – and caring Dave travelled across the country to pick it up so it was waiting for Sean, who is now cancer-free, when he got home from hospital.
Keith, aged 47, said: "He had a lot of love for everybody. There's so many bands around Stoke-on-Trent that know him. He would do sound for other bands.
"We would support other bands. He was just one of those guys."
The band has struggled to cope without Dave – but the other members decided not to disband. Keith said: "We had said at first we didn't know if we were going to carry on."
With the focus on Sunday Keith said they're keen to do him proud. He said: "We wanted to do something as a memorial to remember him."
Magnetic Jellyfish are holding the gig to bring together Dave's life as a musician, and his life as a firefighter. Keith said: "Not all firefighters get to have the memorial garden – there's a cost to it.
"Dave's father wanted to put a memorial wall up with a plaque. He asked if there was something we could do, and we put the two together.
"We're raising money for the other firefighters to have their names on. It's the kind of thing Dave would have wanted us to do.
"We talked to the owner of Eleven and he said he would love to help us out and put the day on. Eleven is one of the best venues in Stoke-on-Trent. All the other bands were happy to do it."
Tickets for Dhilly Fest, this Sunday, are available here for £10.
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