In July 2012 we ran this item on the News page...
A piece of Willy Russell’s past was recently dredged up by pure chance and coincidence 40 years after he gave it up. Matthew Loxley, wrote to Willy’s guestbook, enquiring if a Banjo he had rescued from the council tip, could have been owned and played by Willy in the 1970s! The clues, Matt explained, were writings on the banjo’s vellum which read; “Whoever may possess this banjo, remember once it was very dear to someone” signed W. M. Russell. And, of course it was once Willy’s and he wrote to Matt, “well, the things that come back to haunt one! I was, in fact, rather moved to see the pics and remember my old tenor which, humble and cheap as it was, gave me years of pleasure.” Matt, who just happens to be a luthier, and had recently restored his father’s Banjo, is now busy restoring one of Willy’s first instruments before it is re-united with him.