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Home   Ashford   News   Article

Revealed: Southeastern passenger who led group sing-song on London Victoria service to Ashford is Seal strawberry farmer Martin Clews

03 June 2014
by Matt Leclere

A jolly pensioner has today explained why he conducted a late-night Kent train into an impromptu sing-song - and revealed it went down so well he did an encore.

Sevenoaks strawberry farmer and chartered surveyor Martin Clews, 66, is the star of a hit video after leading Southeastern passengers into a lengthy performance.

The smartly-dressed singer in a beige suit remained a mystery until KentOnline revealed him as Mr Clews, who runs Stonepitts Farm in Seal with his 66-year-old wife Jacqueline.

Posing with a guitar, Martin Clews on his strawberry farm in Seal

Posing with a guitar, Martin Clews on his strawberry farm in Seal

Mr Clews was first greeted by an awkward silence when he stood up and started a largely unknown call-and-response chant on Friday night.

But within moments, around 50 people in the carriage on the last Southeastern train from London Victoria to Ashford International had joined in and were singing along in chorus.

"It seemed to me that like-minded bon viveurs in my carriage might enjoy a jolly song on their way home..." - strawberry farmer Martin Clews

Mr Clews this morning owned up to leading the passengers in song after going to London to celebrate the release of his musician son Dan's new single.

The 34-year-old is a popular singer/songwriter who has performed at the Hop Farm Festival and recorded live sessions with Bob Harris on Radio 2.

Mr Clews said his own singing went down so well that he was asked to perform again when new passengers boarded the train.

And he left passengers in such good spirits they started singing Oasis' Wonderwall after he got off.

Scroll down for videos and audio 

The passenger who started a sing-along on a Southeastern train

Passenger Martin Clews during a sing-along on a Southeastern train

Mr Clews told KentOnline: "I had been celebrating the release of Dan's new single, That's Enough For Me, over a glass or two of champagne with friends in London.

"It seemed to me that like-minded bon viveurs in my carriage might enjoy a jolly song on their way home.

"So I chose a lively number called Beastie, which has become somewhat of a favourite in my rugby club and this went down well with the passengers."

The whole train erupted into singing on the Ashford-bound train

The whole train erupted into singing on the Ashford-bound train

Revealing the background to the song, he added: "It emanated many years ago when a mate of mine went out to volunteer helping kids on the west coast of America. It's a spiritual song, I don't know what the Beastie is, but I suppose it goes back to Africa in a way.

"It's been sung at our rugby club - Old Whitgiftians in South Croydon - for many years and at Twickenham so it's quite well known in those circles."

After leaving London at 12.10am, Mr Clews continued to lead the chorus until he got off at Kemsing.

Train singer Martin Clews with his son Dan

Train singer Martin Clews with his son Dan

"It probably lasted about half an hour," he said. "I was persuaded to take it to another part of the train.

"After a group got off at Bromley South people from Maidstone asked could I do it again.

"Dan appears at Glastonbury this month. He's the real musician and has also been seen performing on trains returning to Sevenoaks from playing gigs in what appears to be a family tradition." 

 
 
Video: Southeastern passenger Martin Clews leads the carriage in a sing-along
 
 
Video: Dan Clews follows in his father's footsteps with a train sing-song
 
Mr Clews broke his silence after a friend revealed he owned the strawberry farm near Sevenoaks.
 
Earlier, kmfm listener Hope told Garry Wilson and Emma Adam on the breakfast show: "It was the last train home.
 
"Everyone was minding their own business, when suddenly he started singing and clapping.

"Everyone starting joining in - it was lovely.

"I didn't know what the words were, but I gave it a good go. Everyone was really getting into it - it was great. I shook his hand on the way out." 

Train passenger George Haswell captured the sing-along on video

Train passenger George Haswell captured the sing-along on video

The Southeastern sing-along was captured by Maidstone man George Haswell in a video he posted on YouTube and is hoping will go viral. 

Mr Haswell, a surveyor in London, said: "This man needs to go viral.
 
"It was so funny and entertaining. He was so amazing." 
 

 


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