Ash star Mark Hamilton turns Snow Patrol guitar strings into jewellery for cancer charity

Some of the bracelets designed by Ash bass player Mark Hamilton using guitar strings from his friends in Snow Patrol
Some of the bracelets designed by Ash bass player Mark Hamilton using guitar strings from his friends in Snow Patrol
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A local music star has come up with a unique piece of memorabilia to raise funds for research into cancer using equipment belonging to a fellow Northern Ireland rock band.

Last year Ash bassist Mark Hamilton fashioned a series of bangles from his band’s used guitar and bass strings, sending proceeds from the sales to Cancer Focus Northern Ireland.

Mark Hamilton raised �1,200 for charity recycling guitar and bass strings from his band Ash

Mark Hamilton raised �1,200 for charity recycling guitar and bass strings from his band Ash

And now the Downpatrick man has followed up that success by selling 115 new pieces of jewellery made out of strings played by his friends in Snow Patrol during their recent US tour.

He said: “I was amazed at the success of the first wave of bangles. I posted about them on my personal Facebook page and in minutes they were all sold. We raised £1,200 for charity from used strings that would’ve otherwise been thrown in landfill.”

Mark chose Cancer Focus NI as the recipient of the proceeds because his mum Miriam is battling breast cancer for a third time and has received lots of support from the charity.

The musician, who is based in New York, hopes to add £3,000 to the charity’s 50th anniversary target of £100,000 with the sales from this latest batch of bangles.

“This second wave of strings were all played on stage during Snow Patrol’s US tour earlier this year,” he said.

“My friend Nathan Connolly (guitarist) had their roadies save and label the strings every day the guitars were changed. I knew Gary (Lightbody) had previously fundraised for Cancer Focus Northern Ireland and the guys were all really happy to be involved.

“We’ve toured together a lot in the past and they were the first people I asked after the success of the Ash wave.

“They handed over the strings on the day of Ward Park 3 which was an unbelievable event.”

Mark explained that making the bracelets has been a team effort: “I weave and cut the strings to size and my dad solders the joints together making what was an ugly joint into something that resembles a metal pearl. They look nice, but raw and rustic. I want them to retain a bit of that rock ‘n roll aesthetic.”

He added: “My girlfriend Becca makes authenticity cards which will be packaged with them, with details of the date, venue and city that they were played in.”

The new bangles are available in a selection of sizes and colours – but are limited and expected to sell fast.

The Snow Patrol #RockBangles are on sale for £25 to £30 each on Mark’s website www.markhamiltonartist.com/shop to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Anyone with any concerns about cancer can call the charity for free on 0800 783 3339.