Since retiring from demanding jobs in newpapers and television, 70-year-old Nick Peake from Lowton has found time for his real passion – music.
And ironically, Nick recently found himself back on television news in a personal capacity after a long wait for a dream guitar caught the attention of BBC NW Tonight!
After retiring from a career which saw him work on newspapers, BBC local radio and television as a producer and director, Nick had formed his own band, The ‘Over-the-Hillbillies’. Before lockdown, they had enjoyed several years playing events like the Culcheth Beer Festival with their own blend of country, folk, rock and jazz.
Once lockdown happened, appearances with the band were put on hold, and Nick, who grew up in Newton-le-Willows but has lived for the last 30 years in Lowton, decided to fulfil a long ambition to create his own ‘home studio’ in which to indulge in his hobby.
The studio was to be complete with the addition of a Taylor GTe Urban Ash guitar, brand new on the market from Nick’s favourite guitar maker, based in California. But the order was to take a lot longer than he anticipated – eventually taking more than three months after delays due to Covid.
The day the much-anticipated guitar finally arrived in Lowton, Nick happened to be tuning in to BBC NW Tonight, who were asking viewers: “what has helped you get through lockdown?”. He texted in to let them know the anticipation for his new guitar had been keeping him going – and the next night he was invited to feature on the show playing it!
Nick says: “A couple of hours after it arrived, I was watching BBC North West news at lunchtime and they wanted know what was helping people get through lockdown. So for a laugh I sent in a photo of me and my guitar, and they recorded a Zoom interview with me that afternoon!
“I’d ordered it three months earlier from the makers in California and I had to wait a long time because of delays in production and shipping due to Covid.
“I’m 70 now and have been playing music since I was 13 – took up guitar inspired back then by The Beatles. I’ve been playing all my life, mainly to accompany myself singing. I played a lot in folk clubs in my teens and early 20s.
“Until Covid and the lockdowns kicked in, I ran an Acoustic Night at Leigh Cricket Club in Beech Drive, Pennington, which was building in popularity.”
And the first song Nick played on his new guitar after taking delivery? Take Me Home Country Roads!
We can’t wait for the day when Nick and his band can play live to an audience again – on the new guitar, of course!