BAKEWELL: Organ grinder idea snubbed

Patrick Cooke.
Patrick Cooke.

Traders are up in arms after council chiefs denied a talented musician a special role in their town.

About 20 business owners in Bakewell have signed a petition calling for Patrick Cooke to become the town’s official organ grinder.

Mr Cooke – who has been playing the instrument for 15 years and often performs in Bakewell – pledged to take on the role, which would have seen him voluntarily wowing crowds at special events in the town.

However, Bakewell Town Council has controversially rejected the idea – but said they are happy to continue to welcome Mr Cooke in an unofficial capacity.

Mr Cooke, 69, of Crich, said: “I was offering my services to bring a bit of atmosphere to Bakewell and help put it on the map even more.

“There’s no other town in the UK with an official organ grinder so this would have been something quirky for the place.”

Richard Young, owner of The Original Farmers Market Shop, on Market Street, Bakewell, started the petition calling for Mr Cooke to take on the special role.

He said: “Myself and a lot of other businesses are extremely disappointed the idea has been rejected – it would have been great for the town.”

Paul Morgans, the town’s mayor, said: “Mr Cooke is, of course, very welcome to continue playing in Bakewell on the same basis he has always done.

“There may well be scope to hold a competition for the honour of becoming Bakewell’s finest street entertainer and this is something I will be investigating in the coming weeks,” added Mr Morgans.

An accomplished organ grinder, Mr Cooke played his instrument in a TV show starring Jules Holland in the run-up to last year’s London Olympics.

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