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Vale vicar unites Belfast with Elvis tribute act
Updated 10:34am Wednesday 16th April 2014 in News
PROMOTING PEACE: People from both sides of a so-called peace line in Belfast were all shook up as they came together to enjoy Vale vicar Andy Kelso’s Elvis Presley tribute show.
CATHOLICS and Protestants were united in their love of Elvis for the evening when a Vale vicar performed on a so-called peace line in Belfast.
More than 250 people turned out for the concert on April 5 to see Reverend Andy Kelso perform his Elvis Presley gospel tribute act.
Held in the Townsend Street Presbyterian Church, the show saw people come from both sides of the peace line, tall barriers separating Irish nationalist and unionist neighbourhoods.
And the concert even raised £4,000 for the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice.
Rev Kelso, aged 66, of Throckmorton, spent two days in the city in February to promote the concert and unite Catholics and protestants who share a common link - their love of 'The King'.
"The whole point of my going over in February to walk the Peaceline and to visit shops and businesses and doing 10 media interviews was to promote this concert with a view to getting both Catholics and Protestants together because of their joint love of Elvis," he said.
"But getting them together was going to be tough. Where I did the concert was right on the Peaceline and the police opened the gate between the two communities which is normally closed at weekends.
"It was amazing, the police were there but there wasn't any problems. It was a real privilege to see people from both communities come together and who knows how this can develop."
Following the concert, Rev Kelso was taken on a six-hour walk around Belfast with Frank Higgins, who was just 11 when the troubles started.
Their tour started off at the docks, where the Titanic was built, before going into the city centre and stopping off at Belfast's oldest pub then on to the top of Shankhill Road.
"Frank was typical of so many people there," said Rev Kelso. "He said he just done his 11 plus and he suddenly heard these shots and these two kids were shot dead behind him.
"He flattened himself by a shop door and felt these bullets whizz past. He saw so much carnage and it made him so angry, he joined the British army.
"He was great, he did so much to get this concert off the ground."
Rev Kelso said his act went down so well he is returning to perform again on the peace line.
"We would expect to get more people next time, it would be really nice to be part of a deeper peace process,"he added.
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