Ex-Northamptonshire Police officer and daughter rock out in world record guitar playing attempt charity event

Matthew and Annie Slinn
Matthew and Annie Slinn

A father and daughter bereaved by a brain tumour joined 200 musicians in an attempt to break the world record for the largest electric guitar ensemble, raising money for charity in the process.

Matthew Slinn, 58, and Annie Slinn, 22, took part in the Great Guitar Challenge last weekend which raised over £3,600 for the Brain Tumour Research charity.

Judith Slinn, wife to Matthew and mum to Annie, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011 when her daughter was 15.

A teacher at Staverton Primary School near Daventry, she underwent radiotherapy, surgery and chemotherapy but passed away in May 2016 at the age of 54.

Keen musician Annie played one of her mum’s favourite U2 songs at the funeral at Great Brington, the family’s home village, and she played the same guitar – her favourite Les Paul – for the record attempt.

"Mum was always more concerned about us than her own situation and was determined that her diagnosis and treatment didn’t affect our studies," said Annie, PR officer at the Brain Tumour Research charity in Milton Keynes.

"In my role at the charity I talk to patients and families who have been affected by this dreadful disease and, when I feel it’s appropriate, I tell them about my mum.

"It feels really good to talk about her and to feel as if I am helping others as we work towards finding a cure for brain tumours. It is turning a massive negative into a positive and I think Mum would be proud."

Guitarists came from as far afield as Germany and Ireland to take part in the event which saw musicians play David Bowie's Heroes all together.

Matthew, who served for 30 years as an officer in Northamptonshire Police, said: “Losing Judith was a terrible shock to us all. When she was first diagnosed it was awful, but we never expected she would die from the disease.

"As a keen guitarist and a huge David Bowie fan, I was privileged to take part in the Great Guitar Challenge with my daughter and I want to continue to fundraise for this worthy cause.”

Michael Thelwall, head of community fundraising for the Brain Tumour Research charity, said: “We needed 450 musicians to break the record so didn’t manage it this time but we’re already thinking about repeating the event next year.

"It was a novel way to raise awareness of brain tumours which kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer.

"We are very grateful to all the guitarists who took part in the challenge, which was a noisy reminder of just how many families are affected by brain tumours."