By Melissa Clark
SCOTS rocker Fish is locked in a bitter row over a benefit gig for flood victims.
The former Marillion frontman is putting on a £20-a-head show in Haddington, East Lothian, to help a local restaurant hit by flooding.
But he claims he is the victim of a “mean-spirited” minority in the town who want to undermine his “positive and well-meant” gesture.
Some locals are asking why the acoustic concert is not benefiting all of the many businesses hit by flooding in recent months.
That prompted Fish – real name Derek Dick – to write to his local paper to angrily defend his decision to raise cash for the “Waterloo Bistro flood prevention scheme”.
The 54-year-old has known the owner of the bistro, Paul Kinnoch, since he moved to the town in 1988.
He wrote: “During the floods in recent months only one business was significantly damaged by the waters and that was the Waterloo Bistro.
“Both Peter Potter Gallery and the Waterside Bistro were flooded but were swiftly reopened and trading again within a couple of days.”
Fish explained that the Bistro has been closed since July 6 and will not open again until late November which has greatly impacted Mr Kinnoch and his family.
All kitchen equipment has been destroyed and there is substantial damage throughout.
He said: “Staff have been laid off and Paul and his wife Anne have struggled to survive with their remaining outside catering business.
“When I heard of his dilemma I was in a position to offer some small help to him with a benefit concert.”
He added: “I find it therefore sad and am disappointed that a very small, mean-spirited minority have chosen to spread malicious rumours about the motives, finances and other aspects of this benefit show.”
Fish claimed this had been done “with the sole purpose of undermining what is a sincere, positive and well-meant gesture to help a local businessman and his family in difficult circumstances”.
The money raised from the concert in St Mary’s Church will go towards building flood barriers at the entrance of the bistro which will help prevent any future damage.
Last week, a resident wrote to the local paper, to complain about “the benefit gig for the ‘Haddington Flood Fund’, stating: “One would think that such a fund would be beneficial to all those businesses that were affected by the flood this
summer, not just one.
“I totally support a specific benefit gig for all businesses that were hit, however I find it difficult to comprehend why one business should benefit from such a function.”
Earlier this year, Fish complained bitterly after his daughter, Tara Nowy, lost out to Tali Lennox for Scottish Model of The Year.
Fish slammed the Scottish Fashion Awards, branding them rigged, and said that the models were treated terribly backstage.
He claimed that the world of fashion was a “cold and brutal industry that generates millions for those in control of (others) fragile dreams”.
The accusations he made were denied by the founder of the awards, Tessa Hartman.
The river Tyne, which runs through the town, burst its banks on Tuesday this week after more than 40mm of rain fell in 36 hours, flooding several businesses.
The Waterside Inn, another restaurant along the river bank, was damaged after two feet of water flooded the ground floor restaurant.