Tin Shed Rattlers to carry on with Downside Hall Bush Dances in Noel Raynes' memory

Downside Hall will host a very special bush dance on Saturday night, with the Tin Shed Rattlers appearing for the first time since founding member Noel Raynes died.

The well-loved musician, charity stalwart and local icon finally lost his battle with lung cancer on November 16. 

Mr Raynes’ brothers in music have decided to honour their late friend by pushing on with the monthly dance at the hall, which was established back in 1971.

David Dunbar, who played alongside Mr Raynes in the Rattlers for 16 years, said there might be some healing in the music.

“The legacy he left us is a good thing and we’re very determined to keep the Tin Shed Rattlers and the dance active,” Mr Dunbar said.

“Noel was like a father figure to a lot of us, it won’t be the same without him, but the good thing about the band in general is that we all get on and we all have the same focus on the music.

“We appreciate the gifts he gave to us along the way, he was a real mentor and taught us the right way to run a show.”

Downside Hall trustee Skye Bellamy said a generation had grown up going to the dance, with the band not only providing the soundtrack to their youth, but also that of their children.

“Part of my daughter’s birthday party is we’re going to see the Tin Shed Rattlers,” Ms Bellamy said.

“There’s a huge following for them, the first one I took my daughter to I had to drag her off the dancefloor at 11pm!

“God bless Noel, he did a wonderful job helping everyone to dance and no-one cared if you couldn’t dance.” 

In late 2015, Mr Raynes was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a form of cancer associated with exposure to asbestos.

Undeterred, the laid-back musician intensified his charity work, helping raise funds for the Riverina Cancer Care Centre (RCCC).

“Noel did so much good for so many in the community,” Mr Dunbar said.

“He was larger than life and even from when I first met him he struck me as likeable, welcoming and encouraging. He’s been a staple of the dance for so many years, but now he’s gone off to the big jam session in the sky.”

The Downside Hall Bush Dance will run from 7pm to 1pm on Saturday, December 3.

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