Mod-inspired gigs set up by Liverpool bus driver raise £1m for Teenage Cancer Trust

A group of Mod enthusiasts have raised £1 million pounds for Teenage Cancer Trust after hosting around 370 music gigs across the country.

The group called “March of the Mods” – the brainchild of Eddie Penny, a bus driver, and Teenage Cancer Trust supporter, from Liverpool –  held their first gig 12 years ago and have been fundraising for the charity ever since.

The March of the Mods events see individual mod-inspired music gigs staged across the country in March with live music, DJs, mod fashion and even some mod ride-outs taking place.

Prior to finding March of the Mods, Eddie set up mod-related events around Liverpool, including The Liverpool Mod Weekender at The Cavern Club, and Project 11.

The idea for March of the Mods came from Project 11 which saw 11 bands playing for 11 hours, for 11 different charities on 11/11/2011, with an £11 entry fee.

“After Project 11 my thoughts turned to linking a Project 11 style event with other towns and cities and then whilst I was driving my bus on a late shift it came to me how to do this,” Eddie said.

“I had always been aware of the Joe Loss song March of the Mods –  I have never liked it if I am honest, but I always thought that it had a pretty cool title, my light bulb moment came when I thought, what if March was the actual month of March and you linked and staged mod events all around the country for that whole month.

“The elements of Project 11 made up the missing pieces –  live mod-inspired bands raising money for charity over a month instead of a day, and this is how March of the Mods was born.”

To recognise the incredible achievement of raising £1 million pounds, Teenage Cancer Trust met with representatives from March of the Mods, at the Cavern Club in Liverpool – the city where it all started.  

During the meeting, the group paid tribute to Jack Lawler who presented a cheque to March of the Mods after their very first fundraising gig which raised a total of £50,000 thanks to the total being match-funded by Barclays Bank.

Teenage Cancer Trust funds specialist hospital units, nurses, and youth workers across the UK. They’ve built a network of 28 age-appropriate hospital wards and funded a dedicated team of over 100 nurses and youth support coordinators, who are experts in meeting the unique and complex needs of 13 to 24-year-olds with cancer.

Teenage Cancer Trust is the only UK charity dedicated to meeting this vital need – so no young person faces cancer alone.

Eddie Penny (R) at the end of a thank you event at the Cavern Club with fellow organisers in 2024. Credit: Marvin Henrius, Open Media

Eddie Penny, founder of the March of the Mods said, “March of the Mods started out as a group and it’s that group mentality that has brought us to where we are today. None of this would have been possible without the time and effort that people have dedicated to being part of March of the Mods.”

Emma Cross, Senior Relationship Manager for the North West and Cumbria at Teenage Cancer Trust said, “It’s been incredible to see the dedication and loyalty of March of the Mods over the years. It involves so many people giving their time – the organisers,  bands, DJ’s, venues and all the volunteers that help. We had expected the group to hit their million-pound target in 2025, and it was such a wonderful surprise to all of us to receive the added donation which has enabled them to achieve their dream a year early.”

The group reached their fundraising target this year after a series of successful gigs, and thanks to a significant donation from Euan and Alison Sellar who were inspired by the organisers of the Aberdeen March of the Mods.

Emma added, “The support from March of the Mods is enabling Teenage Cancer Trust to provide specialist care for young people with cancer, so they don’t feel isolated, alone, and have the emotional and practical support that they need to get them through.

“We cannot thank March of the Mods enough, and we are so proud of their achievement.”

As well as fundraising for Teenage Cancer Trust, some March of the Mods events also raise money for local charities.

Each year, around 33 March of the Mods gigs are held across the country.

March of the Mods will continue next year and will see gigs take place from next March in major cities and towns across the UK and Ireland. For more information visit: www.facebook.com/Marchofthemods

Lead image: Eddie Penny, second from left, at the first March of the Mods gig in 2012 with fellow organisers

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