A SOUL group in York which has devoted years to raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity is to play its final gig in the city.

YKSoul has raised more than £60,000 since 2003, benefiting charities such as York Against Cancer, York Hospital Radio, York Blind and Partially Sighted Society, Teenage Cancer Trust, Meningitis Research and St Leonard’s Hospice.

The group – Nick Beilby, Steve Bradley, Marie Mortimer, Simon Wragg and Angela Rennison – has also previously been nominated in the charity fundraiser of the year category in The Press’s Community Pride awards in recognition of the hours they give each week collecting rare soul records and playing soul music for charity YKSoul events.

None of the members makes money from the events, and all have to juggle them around their jobs.

But nearly a decade after their launch, the group has decided to call closing time on their act. Nick said: “Over the last ten years, YKSoul have raised almost £60,000 for local charities of which we are immensely proud, but have now decided to call it a day.

“We have found that raising hire costs for venues along with their associated costs and also pressure of work and involvement in other activities prevent us from maintaining the high standards for events which we have set.

“Reluctantly, we have made the decision and will not promote any events for the forseeable future. We should like to thank everyone most sincerely for their support over the last ten years and for providing many happy memories.”

YKSoul began with a brainwave from Nick and former member Andy Bellwood in 2003. They approached Steve Bradley, who agreed to help out with a charity night. They chose the name YK because when Nick worked on the railways, YK was the code for York when it had an engine shed.

The group will be holding their final gig on Saturday in the Temple Hall at York St John University.

The event will raise funds for the York Branch of the Normandy Veterans Association with guest DJs Mick Burnett and Steve Murphy, which will begin at 7.30pm. Tickets are £7 on the door.