Local Face: Graham Evans
Graham was born in Stalybridge, Manchester and spent the 1960s as a professional drummer touring with his band ‘The Big Sound’ throughout the UK, Germany, Denmark & Israel. He toured with many well-known bands & artists of the time including Jimi Hendrix, The Small Faces, The Yardbirds and Georgie Fame playing at some of the worlds most iconic venues including the Cavern Club and the Star Club.
At the end of the bands last European tour Graham returned to the northern cabaret circuit, playing in the house band for entertainers such Cannon & Ball, Little & Large and Bernard Manning.
Graham arrived in Wendover on his 22nd birthday, Sunday 10 August 1969. He decided to put down his sticks and have a career change, it could not have been more different from his days with the band. Staying with his brother and sister-in-law in Icknield Close, Wendover. He got a job as a van salesman at Brazil’s of Amersham, which became Bowyers. He very quickly learnt his way around the Chilterns on his van route. He was promoted to supervisor and later to area manager. In 1976 he joined Stevens of Prestwood (which became Farmer Giles Foods) as Sales Manager. Graham spent the next few years as Sales Director for Sonny’s American Cheesecakes & S Baron Ltd one of the oldest Smoked Salmon Companies in the country based in the East End of London.
In 1991 he had the opportunity to start up his own company in Aylesbury, Chiltern Salads Ltd. Employing over 20 full time staff, the business ran successfully for 21 years.
In 1987 his father died from a heart related illness so, Graham decided as his dad had driven him to gigs in his early years, he would pick up his drumsticks again and do a charity gig at Wendover Memorial Hall for the British Heart foundation celebrating the 25th anniversary of the release of the Beatles single ‘Love Me Do’. So, the Wendover Beatles were born with his long-time friend John Hinton on bass and support from old friends Christopher Pallet and Andrew Gardner they advertised in their shop windows, even putting a jukebox in Andrew Gardner’s window. In 2012 The Wendover Beatles returned to the Memorial Hall to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of ‘Love Me Do’. Over the years Graham as organised many other shows and raised lots of money for various local charities with his bands The Graham Evans All Stars, China Rose & The Duvets.
He married his long-term partner Lisa in 1990 at Stocks Country Club in Aldbury. Lisa was born in Sidney Terrace, Wendover and is very much a local girl with her family history in Wendover dating back over 4 generations. Lisa & Graham have two children Joe & Carmel, now 5th generation. Joe, Carmel and Carmel’s husband Harry continue to live in Wendover.
Graham founded the popular ‘Red Lion Sporting Association’ and hosted guest speakers such as Sir Stanley Mathews, Alan Lamb, Emlyn Hughes, Tommy Docherty and many more raising well needed money for local & national charities.
In 2004 whilst having a drink in the Shoulder of Mutton he came up with the idea along with the then manager Keith for the ‘Party in the Garden’. Graham had always wanted to organise an outside event and here was the perfect venue in the heart of the village. He arranged all the music and staging for the next four years when his long-time friend and fellow musician Barry Evans carried on the tradition very successfully. All profits have gone to local charities including ‘Friends of Wendover Health Centre’ & ‘Ian Rennie Hospice at Home’ (now Rennie Grove).
After running a successful business for 21 years Graham decided it was time to retire and get back to his beloved music. With the revival of vinyl, he is doing his music in a different way, Graham now deals in records, buying and selling online and is a regular contributor to online music blogs, whilst Lisa runs her own garden design business ‘The Beehive Garden Design’.
Graham is already planning a special night of music for when we can all get together again. So Watch This Space!!