Retired driving instructor donates limited edition guitars to GNAAS after stroke left him unable to play

A RETIRED driving instructor has donated two limited edition guitars to charity after a stroke left him unable to play.

Alan Welsh from Sherburn Village, County Durham, gave away his beloved Fender and Jackson guitars to the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) along with a set of pedals and an amp.

The 73-year-old started playing the guitar when he was 14 years old and used to perform in pubs with a band during his teens.

Over the years Mr Welsh has played several guitars, but he always had his heart set on owning a Fender Stratocaster.

He said: “I had never had a Strat and I always wanted one all my life but I could never afford it.

“Then one day I decided ‘oh to hell with it’ and bought one. It’s a 50th anniversary edition, and it’s got a plaque on the back, and all the extras built into that one. It’s extremely good and I used to love playing it.

“The Jackson guitar is decent too. Although Jackson are an American company, the guitar I bought was made in Japan and is one of only a few that were manufactured in that country, so it’s also a limited edition. The guitars have given me a lot of pleasure and they’re great fun to play.”

Unfortunately, tragedy struck three years ago when Mr Welsh suffered a stroke on his left hand side, causing muscle weakness in his left hand and foot.

He said: “I’ve had a major heart attack before, but the stroke was worse. I’ve never had anything like that in my life, and I don’t want another one, that was really terrifying.

“I’m left-handed so now I can hardly write or do anything with that hand anymore, including playing the guitar. I thought I’d give it six months in the hope that the muscles in my hand would get better, but they never did.

“There’s no point me keeping the guitars, so I thought I’d look for a good charity that is useful to the world. It costs a lot of money to run an air ambulance so that’s why I decided to donate them to GNAAS. They’re a good worthwhile service which deserves to be kept, and I want to make sure they keep on flying.”

The guitars, a 50th anniversary Fender Stratocaster and a Jackson S-L4 electric guitar, the amp and pedals, are being sold individually on eBay, which has waived its fees to help GNAAS raise as much money as possible.

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