A FRONTMAN was lost for words when his Greenock bandmates turned one of their gigs into a surprise 70th birthday party.

Singer Jim Carney, who lives in the west end, had no idea what was in store when he turned up for a show at the Regent Club with keyboard player Patsy Robertson, 63, and Michelle Lyle, who is 30 and on bass.

Armed with his guitar and microphone, he walked through the door and was greeted by friends and family, including some who had travelled from as far as Dubai, Dublin and down south, to celebrate his milestone birthday.

The event also helped raise £800 for two worthy causes after guests were asked for donations instead of birthday presents.

Jim, who is originally from Manchester but now lives in Ardgowan Street, said: "They got me, I had no idea it was a surprise party.

"I had family there from all over, my son came from Abu Dhabi, my niece flew in from Dublin and some family from north Wales."

Patsy and Michelle pretended they had been booked to perform at a swimming club presentation evening in a re-run of a gig from a years previous.

But it was Jim who was in at the deep end when he entered the hall.

Patsy said: "He was speechless for once.

"I'm so relieved it was such a success.

"It was a great night."

The trio have been playing together for the last five years and did not disappoint their fans by taking to the stage for a performance of some hit from the likes of The Beatles and The Killers.

Friends from folk clubs in Houston and Ayr then took over and provided the entertainment throughout the night.

Michelle said: "Jim had no idea at all what we had planned.

"It was a total surprise and everybody did well to keep the secret."

From the money raised on the night, £500 will go to a leukaemia research charity inspired by the nine-year-old son of Jim's niece, who is battling the disease, and a friend of his and Patsy's from Houston Folk Club, who is also going through treatment.

The remaining £300 generated from a raffle will be handed over to the local multiple sclerosis social group, which Patsy is a member of.

Jim said: "Thanks to everyone who came along and for all the kind donations, including for the raffle.

"I was very humbled that people came all this way for me."

The Inverclyde MS Social & Activities Group meets on the last Thursday of the month between 11am and 1pm in Your Voice, Clyde Square.

For more information, call 07826 850 538 or 07982 968 306.