Northampton pubgoers band together to replace dear friend Bill's stolen antique ukulele
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A community of Northampton pubgoers has brought the music back to Weston Favell by clubbing together to replace a close friend's stolen antique ukulele.
In August, instrumentalist Bill Kingston ran an appeal through the Chronicle & Echo to recover his treasured 100-year-old ukulele banjo that was swiped from his car after a performance.
Sadly, the precious instrument never found its way home - but Bill's pub friends weren't going to let that be the end of the story.
And when the musician answered his door over the weekend, Bill was met by a choir of early-season carol singers made up of all his mates - who presented him with a new vintage ukulele they had clubbed together to find.
Bill told the Chronicle & Echo: "There was a knock on my door and when I opened it I was confronted by a group of friends from my local pub the Bold Dragoon singing Christmas carols.
"I have to say I was a little confused however the singing stopped abruptly and to my surprise and absolute delight I was presented with a beautiful replacement antique ukulele.
"It's a beautiful instrument. I felt obliged to play them a couple of tunes - at which point they possibly questioned the wisdom of their actions."
The plot was hatched by Bill's friends at the Bold Dragoon pub in Weston Favell, who in August had hung the Chron's original appeal up on the wall.
One of the lead conspirators Martin Pettit told the Chron: "One day one of us said 'did Bill ever get his ukulele back?' But he hadn't, so someone said 'why don't we try and buy one?'
"We got on eBay, and there were only two available. The first was in Leicester and the other was in the Lake District and cost £15,000. We went with the first one.
"We had the idea to present it while singing carols because every year we come together and sing carols at the Bold.
"He's a fantastic chap, he's the life and soul of every party he goes to. He's great company, the sort of chap who's always laughing."
Bill told the Chron: "I've got such heartfelt thanks to all my friends from the Bold for the wonderful gift. I only hope I will be able to entertain people at the Bold with it before too long."