Tom Bliss

Tom's gigs for MS Research

Fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis Society
raised of £5,000 target
by 60 supporters
Tom Bliss gigs with Dave and/or Ross and/or Den
Multiple Sclerosis Society

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1139257
We are the MS Society. We are strong enough to stop MS together.


Tom Bliss with Ross Bennett and/or Den Miller and/or Dave Bowie

Back for MS Research

2023's gigs with Ross and Dave in Otley, Leeds and York raised over £1,600, and Tom and Ross' 3 gigs in Alderney added another £1,800. In Feb 2024 Den helped Tom raise £1000+ in Bradford / Shipley, Sowerby Bridge / Halifax and Sheffield and the total for Darlington with Den and Ross was approaching £700 all in. Added to the pre-covid total this brings us up to over £8,800. Thank you all so very much!


This page will remain live for donations until our gigs in May 2025 at Wetherby and Wath, both featuring the wonderful Charlie Barker (who has MS herself), then Gainsborough and Seven in Leeds.

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'Master craftsman' multi-instrumentalist and story-songwriter Tom Bliss, who's been called 'brilliant' by Mojo, 'astonishingly moving and inspirational' by Tykes News and 'a natural stand-up comic with perfect timing" by Salut Live, first hung up his mandocello in 2010, after 10 years working mainly with banjo virtuoso Tom Napper, who'd moved to Scotland.

Worry about climate change led him back to his old profession of landscape architecture, which he was soon teaching at Leeds Beckett, and a job at the University of Leeds working with climate and tree scientists. But after a decade in music, and two in TV before that, the change was a challenge - so he barely had time to play for fun, let alone gig.

Then in 2016 his daughter Ellie was diagnosed with Remitting Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis - a neurological condition that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It can be devastatingly debilitating.

When Ellie was diagnosed, I felt the world had ended. It's terrible to see the child you've nurtured to adulthood inexplicably laid low by a currently incurable disease. Then it emerged that I know lots of sufferers, who are quietly pushing back and getting on with their lives - as is Ellie. She's a fantastic mum who holds down a challenging job as a data scientist at Lloyds Bank, but life for her will never be the same, and staying cheerful can take some doing. So I wanted to support her by raising some cash for the MS Society, who fund hugely promising research into a condition which now affects more than 100,000 people in the UK.

So Tom called up two old mates, popular York troubadour Ross Bennet, aka 'the human jukebox'(!) and bull fiddle supremo Dave Bowie, who's played with everyone from Steve Tilston to Martha Reeves, and they arranged just three pay-as-you-feel benefit gigs.

Tom's concerts have always been hugely popular: 'Never have I heard tales told and sung with such humour and skill. A spellbinding couple of hours - where did the evening go?' (Bishop FM). 'One of the best nights I've had. Tom was brilliant; great songs, great performance, superb stories. I was enthralled and so was everyone else,' (FCO Web Forum).

But Tom wasn't certain people would remember, so he set a modest target of £600 for the three gigs. He needn't have worried. The shows, dubbed ‘outstanding', 'truly wonderful' and 'even better than I thought possible', sold out - and the final total, including CD sales, Justgiving donations, and matched funding from Lloyds Bank, topped £3,600.

Naturally, everyone wanted more, but day jobs and then the pandemic intervened. Then last year worse news about Ellie's diagnosis provided another spur.

Initially there was every reason to hope that Ellie might stay much the same throughout her life, as we recently discovered my grandmother Ida had. In those days people were not always told about their illnesses, so even though she'd been a nurse, amazingly, Ida never even knew she had MS, so we didn't either. But the version Ellie has now, Secondary Progressive, does tend to get worse over time, though thankfully new drugs funded by the MS Society can slow the decline for some - as we sincerely hope they will for Ellie. Her mum Cat and I keep a close eye on progress (she helps the Society to review funding bids) and things are looking increasingly hopeful for treatments that can stop MS altogether, partly thanks to breakthroughs on the immune system from COVID vaccine research. So now seems a great moment to reassert our support for Ellie and the amazing professionals who work to treat, and let's hope defeat, this appalling condition.

So Tom's finally back - again. But he's not planning to return to regular gigging, so these pay-as-you-feel shows offer a super-rare opportunity to enjoy an evening of powerful story songs, not least 'Four Foot Track' which he wrote for Ellie long before she was diagnosed, about walking together when she was small, along the beautiful beaches of their 'home' island of Alderney (which is why they did 3 gigs there too).

About the charity

Multiple Sclerosis Society

Verified by JustGiving

RCN 1139257
Over 150,000 of us in the UK have MS. It’s unpredictable and different for everyone. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’re the MS Society. We understand what life’s like with MS. We're here for you through the highs, lows and everything in between. Together, we are strong enough to stop MS.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £559.50 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations

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