THE hot sun in Australia will be strong motivation for singer Gerry Marsden to get on a plane and leave a freezing English winter.
Gerry has overcome his hatred of flying to stage Gerry and the Pacemakers' 50th Farewell Tour of the land Down Under.
The "farewell" in the title of the two-month tour throughout Australia and New Zealand is a touch misleading.
What 70-year-old Gerry is saying "farewell" to is back-to-back, one-night performances in different cities.
"My next tour will be one night working, five nights playing," he said. "I'm fed up with airports."
In the early '60s, Gerry and the Pacemakers worked the same Liverpool/Hamburg circuit as the Beatles and many other groups.
In 1963, they burst onto the scene with three consecutive No1 hits - How Do You Do It, I Like It and You'll Never Walk Alone.
Most of the Pacemakers' subsequent hits were penned by Gerry, including It's All Right, I'm the One, Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin' and Ferry Cross the Mersey.
Gerry says his fans these days range from 15 to 95 years of age.
"The kids come with the parents. That's great," he said.
"People say 'those songs made us fall in love'."
Gerry plans to continue performing and writing songs.
"If you like what you're doing, it's a pleasure," he said.
"I play golf and fish, but I don't get the buzz out of that that I get out of walking on stage.
"Thank God for letting me do it - for all the happiness we still have."
The You'll Never Walk Alone tour begins at the Ipswich Civic Centre on February 28.
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