Seventies band Plimsoll Sandwich set for reunion gig

Neil Hamilton (left) and Ralph Meyer, who are reuniting the 70s band Plimsoll Sandwich for a charity

Neil Hamilton (left) and Ralph Meyer, who are reuniting the 70s band Plimsoll Sandwich for a charity event. Picture: JUDY RIMMER - Credit: Archant

Unusually-named Ipswich band Plimsoll Sandwich are set for a relaunch - 40 years on from their 70s heyday.

Ralph Meyer (left) and Neil Hamilton, who are reuniting the 70s band Plimsoll Sandwich for a charity

Ralph Meyer (left) and Neil Hamilton, who are reuniting the 70s band Plimsoll Sandwich for a charity event. Picture: JUDY RIMMER - Credit: Archant

The original band had a huge East Anglian fan base. Now founder Ralph Meyer is bringing Plimsoll Sandwich back for a charity event inspired by his grand-daughter, to be held at Kesgrave Social Club on April 27.

Ralph, now 75, stepped out of retirement to raise funds for an African project which his grand-daughter Milly is involved with. This is the Shamwari Group Conservation Experience, run in conjunction with Gap Africa Projects.

Milly will be volunteering for two weeks in July at the Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa, and has to raise £2,400 to take part.

Ralph formed the band in the late 1960s and 70s, as The Kings, who went on to become the Kings Showband, then Plimsoll Sandwich and Tangent.

A flyer of 70s Ipswich band Plimsoll Sandwich

A flyer of 70s Ipswich band Plimsoll Sandwich - Credit: Archant


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Neil Hamilton, now 66, had a distant cousin who was a band member. Neil also played with them himself and had fond memories of the band - so he suggested the reunion to Ralph. He will be playing bass guitar with the new-look band.

Ralph and Neil will be interviewed by Stephen Foster on his Radio Suffolk show on Thursday.

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“We were resident at the Copdock Hotel for 14 years and were called Tangent for dinner dances and functions and Plimsoll Sandwich for soul, funk and rock’n’roll gigs,” Ralph said.

One member was Robbie Gladwell, who became Cockney Rebel’s guitarist and has worked with many other famous names, while another was Sherri Kershaw, who married chart star Nik and toured the world with him.

Other musicians included Bill Haige Joyce, who played keyboards for Johnny Dankworth and Cleo Lane’s big band, Mick Hanson, an acclaimed world-class jazz guitarist, John Hillyard on flute and sax who became a Suffolk police diver. Adrian “Slim” Hopgood, Bob Dore and Gerry Gillings.

Ralph said the name “Plimsoll Sandwich” was inspired by Robbie Gladwell, because when they were performing for dinner dances, the musicians wore aubergine-coloured suits, but Robbie sometimes turned up wearing plimsolls.

“So when I said, ‘What are we going to call this big showband?’, Robbie said, Plimsoll Sandwich!”

After leaving the band in 1980, Ralph joined Bob Miller and the Millermen, taking over from Vince Hill and Matt Monro. He then went to Australia for 18 years and has performed with many top names, including KC and the Sunshine Band, The Drifters and Edwin Starr.

The charity gig at Kesgrave Social Club on April 27 will start at 7.30 for 8pm and run through to 11pm. There will also be a charity auction. Tickets are available from the club, or contact Felicity on 07854 189812.

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