Man uses humour and music to have a pop at council

A community campaigner has become an online sensation by using the power of song to vent his frustration at council decisions.

Hundreds of people have watched tracks that poke fun at Durham County Council, which were written and posted on the internet by comic singer and ukulele player Alan Prudhoe.

The retired local government officer was one of 2,700 people who objected to the demolition of the former Tudhoe Grange School in Spennymoor, County Durham.

They wanted Durham County Council and Spennymoor Learning Community Trust, which owns the site, to try to find a buyer to save the 1912 landmark brick building.

But both organisations said it was unlikely to sell whereas the cleared land would generate cash for education in the town so decided to press ahead with demolition, which is currently underway.

The authority said it would have cost £3m to repair Tudhoe Grange – the same figure it quoted to fix up five care homes it shut, the stately home and former school Windlestone Hall in Chilton which many believe was sold off cheap and the restoration of Wharton Park in Durham which is ongoing.

 Observing the pattern, Mr Prudhoe, from Hett, near Spennymoor, penned and recorded The £3m Repair Song and put a video of his performance on YouTube.

The 70-year-old, who worked for Durham County Council for more than 30 years, said:

“With the school we felt there was inadequate consultation and public opinion was ignored.

“I’ve lots of experience and feel as a public service the council is totally out of control, decisions about a huge turnover and lots of residents are made by too few officers and cabinet members.

“My songs are a means of communication, I’ve always used comedy to get a message across and this is a way of engaging people and venting my frustration.

“I never want to offend anyone, I don’t think the internet and social media are there to make personal attacks and I never sing anything I wouldn’t say to a person’s face.”

 Mr Prudhoe has been in bands since the 1960s and is a member of the Stockton to Darlington Ukulele Express.

His council jibes are far from his first online musical hit, as there have been more than 5million viewings of his performances on YouTube and he has a significant following in Peru.

Durham County Council chose not to comment.

Source – Northern Echo,  24 Jan 2015

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