Beds, Herts & Bucks

George Michael: 'First gig' venue receives major repairs

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley
Image caption Michael and Ridgeley, pictured in the 1980s

A dilapidated scout hut where George Michael played his first gig will "last another 60 years" after being restored.

Michael's family moved to Bushey in Hertfordshire when he was a teenager.

He revealed that he performed in front of 400-500 people at the building during his pre-Wham! days, though the exact date is unknown.

Local scout chairman, Michael Duffy, described the hut as a "music history landmark" and hopes a commemorative plaque can be installed.

He said: "Interestingly, the stage is still pretty much as it was when George performed on it and we want to keep it just as it is.

"The building is 60 years old and we've already invested £15,000 to make sure it lasts another 60 years.

"We need a further £5,000 to do more work on its grounds."

Image copyright Michael Duffy
Image caption The hut's existing timber, doors and windows have been replaced

Mr Duffy is also the owner of The Three Crowns pub in Bushey where the four members of Wham! met and formed the group in 1981.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgley met at Bushey Meads School and discovered a mutual interest in music.

The pair - with backing singers, Pepsi and Shirlie - had a string of hits, which won them thousands of fans.

Michael went on to have a total of seven UK number one singles as a solo artist - including A Different Corner and Jesus to a Child - and the same number of chart-topping albums.

Image copyright Michael Duffy
Image caption A local scout group based at the building has raised about £15,000 for repairs

Michael died of natural causes at his home in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, on Christmas Day, aged 53. His funeral took place on Wednesday.

The coroner's verdict on his death only came three weeks ago. Tests were ordered because an initial post-mortem examination was "inconclusive".

Darren Salter, senior coroner for Oxfordshire, said the star had heart and liver disease.

Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption Flowers and posters were among tributes left outside Michael's London home

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