It's a case of from 'Do Wah Diddy' to the Love of God... Musician, actor and TV and radio presenter Paul Jones says that he became a Christian in 1984 after discussing things with his friend Cliff Richard:
"Cliff took Fiona (Paul's wife actress Fiona Hendley) and I out to dinner after going to see an evangelist at White City football stadium. That was our night; we gave our lives to the Lord."
|Paul Jones with actress wife Fiona Hendl|
Paul and Fiona were at Chippenham's Neeld Hall on Saturday evening, 4th June 2005, to give a talk about their faith and how they found God. The event, organised by the Oasis Church in the town, also featured music from the church band.
I managed to grab half an hour with Paul and his wife before they went on stage to do a sound check.
It's not a 'gig'
Paul is a highly respected musician with a string of hits behind him. He's had years of success with Manfred Mann and The Blues Band, not to mention his solo career, and a string of acting successes on TV, stage and film. Plus he presents a BBC Radio 2 show. So I was very surprised not to be met by an entourage of managers and agents. There wasn't even anyone to carry his bags. Paul and Fiona arrived at the Neeld Hall unaccompanied, carrying their own belongings, and full of apologies for being slightly late after getting lost in Chippenham's notorious one way system.
The fact of the matter is I was bowled over by his genuine earthiness and non-star status. There were no airs and graces, which are often held by many people in the public eye who are less famous than Paul. Fiona was the same, both of them seemed more than pleased to talk to me about their concert (not gig as Paul corrected me – "Gigs are for rock 'n' roll bands") and their love of God. They beamed with joy as they talked to me about their testimony on how they changed from being atheists to Christians over 20 years ago. Their eyes lit up as they spoke of how God has allowed them to spread the word through their music, acting and TV and radio work.
|"Cliff took Fiona and I out to dinner after going to see an evangelist at White City stadium. That was our night; we gave our lives to the Lord."|
| Paul Jones|
When you interview stars, you are never quite sure what you are going to get – a plug for their concert, new book, CD or cookery endorsed product. You are never quite sure what mood they are going to be in and whether they take to you or your challenging questions. Paul and Fiona had nothing to plug, and they took every question in their stride. Having said that they did plug one interest, no lets say love, they plugged their commitment to Christ.
The last to leave
Paul told me that they tour the country giving talks on their faith and 'do' about 30 a year. They can take all forms, some include full blown laying-of-hands-on healing, others a talk with music and singing. He also proudly told me that Manfred fans go to see him but sometimes come away choosing to follow not him but God.
Around 150 people turned up to see them in Chippenham. The event lasted over three hours and Paul and Fiona were the last to leave, having talked to the many who wanted to question them on their faith. In fact the only other person left was the caretaker, stacking chairs and sweeping up. Now what was it Paul Jones said about commitment to Christ?
To listen to the interview with Manfred Mann's Paul Jones in full click on the link in the right hand column.