New Mills soapstar to rock Grousto’

New Mills band White Van Man, from left John Patterson, 'The Twad', Emmerdale's Tony Audenshaw, Ste Higgins and Dave McWhan, who are playing at Groustonbury on August 25.
New Mills band White Van Man, from left John Patterson, 'The Twad', Emmerdale's Tony Audenshaw, Ste Higgins and Dave McWhan, who are playing at Groustonbury on August 25.
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While we watched his alter ego was getting married for the seventh time, soapstar Tony Audenshaw was busy rehearsing with his rock band ahead of their headline set at Groustonbury.

The New Mills actor took time out from being Emmerdale’s Bob Hope to tell the Advertiser about how he became the lead singer of White Van Man.

The fivepiece’s upcoming set at the Birch Vale music festival will mark the group’s first performance this year, and their only one planned for the Derbyshire area.

Formed in 2001, Tony said White Van Man played their first gig the night Torr Vale Mill was destroyed by fire and they’ve been “bringing the house down” with high energy versions of rock and pop classics ever since.

Joining Ian Waddell, “The Twad”, on lead guitar, Dave McWhan on bass, Milltown Studios’ John Patterson on drums and Ste Higgins on rhythm guitar, Tony will be adding some modern numbers to their usual setlist, such as Black Keys and Kings of Leon.

He said: “We’re looking forward to it; it’s always a good atmosphere at Groustonbury.”

The father-of-two, who moved to New Mills from Marple in 1988, said he’d always loved singing but only considered it a hobby, until he saw a band play at his wedding to his wife Ruth 15 years ago.

He said: “They were called North South Divide and I’d never seen them perform, we just booked them, which I wouldn’t advise! But they turned out to be really good.

“It was Frank Seddon, Bernard Humphrey and the Twad and a couple of others and when they split up I joined them and I’ve been with them ever since.”

The keen runner, who regularly runs marathons for charity, said he knew he was not the best singer and but enjoyed being part of the “man band” as it was a far cry from his TV day job.

He said: “It’s nice because it’s totally different. It’s nice getting up on stage in front of a crowd. I like being in a band as it feels like it’s us against the world, we share the good times.”

He said his favourite gig was two years ago at the New Mills Art Theatre, saying: “It was absolutely magical. I think it’s the only time it has sold out.”

Tickets for Groustonbury at The Grouse pub in Birch Vale on August 25, between 2.30pm and 8.30pm, cost £10 are available from pub on New Mills Road.