Former Redditch rev takes his Ministry of Elvis to Northern Ireland

Redditch Advertiser: Andy Kelso on the Falls Road in Belfast, near a mural of Bobby Sand, a Provisional IRA member who died on hunger strike while imprisoned at HM Prison Maze in 1981. Andy Kelso on the Falls Road in Belfast, near a mural of Bobby Sand, a Provisional IRA member who died on hunger strike while imprisoned at HM Prison Maze in 1981.

A FORMER Redditch vicar recently brought his 'Ministry of Elvis' message to Catholics and Protestants in Belfast.

A minister of a church on the Shankill Road heard about Andy Kelso's ministry and flew over to England before Christmas to see a concert.

He asked Mr Kelso, former vicar of Christ Church, Matchborough, to travel to Northern Ireland for a promotional trip, with a view to taking part in a concert on  April 5.

It was then decided that it would be good if 'Elvis' walked the Peaceline and met residents.

Mr Kelso said: "The media really took to the story and I did 10 interviews over the weekend with TV, radio and newspapers.

"When Saturday morning came lots of people had heard about the walk so there were a lot of tooting horns and "Go for it Elvis" shouted. I had a police escort and a posse of photographers.

"I walked up to the Falls Road library and sang some songs on the steps there, talking to people. I then walked to the Peace Gate and sang some more songs before walking to the Shankill Road library where I sang some even more. It was a humbling experience as I passed so many places where people had been murdered.

"A young man who walked with me giving out leaflets about the April 5 concert told me that the politicians had let the young people down as there was still no true peace and a lot of unemployment. He said if I could get people from both sides of the divide together at this concert, I would have done more than any of them.

"I went into Belfast City Centre as Elvis and invited people to the concert and there was a lot of good feedback."

Mr Kelso took his 100-year-old teddy called Fitzroy along for the trip and he proved to be a star among the people he met.

The concert Mr Kelso is taking part in on April 5 is for the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice and he hopes people from both sides of the divide will come along and enjoy it.

He added: "My show will comprise the very best of Elvis with rock, ballad and gospel, and I weave in stories about Elvis' life and spiritual journey and links to my own. It makes for a great night and I pray that lives will be touched and people will see that life is too short to hold on to grievances and that the legacy for our young people needs to be looking forward, not back."

For more details, see revelvis.co.uk.

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