Singer Bobby Velvet forms alpacas trio for North Berwick show
They're two tall, good-looking Hollywood heart-throb young males who attract second... no make that third, fourth and fifth... glances wherever they go '“ wowing everyone with their smouldering good looks and ab-fabulous physiques.
Now Rory and Pearson –alpacas from Innerleithen near Peebles – are to make their showbiz debut at an old people’s home, pairing up with cult singer Bobby Velvet at this year’s Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick.
Appearing as Bobby Velvet & the Alpacas, Rory and Pearson, both therapy pets, will bray along with the crooner at McCarthy and Stone’s luxury retirement home in the seaside village on August 9.
Bobby Velvet, whose repertoire includes Sinatra, Presley and Gershwin but whose signature song is Tony Bennet’s 1951 top 20 hit Blue Velvet said he was “mildly concerned” about the forthcoming performance.
“Sessions with ‘the boys’ can descend into lots of braying and humming – that’s what happened with the last Elvis song I ran through with them.
“But everyone who comes into contact with these alpacas seems to fall in love with them. They give endless affection and just can’t help having a sort of aura around them.
“They both have very different personalities. Rory is very stable but Pearson can be a little animated and has a penchant for rubbing his nose against the dark blue velvet jacket I wear for performances. But I’m sure he’ll be fine on the big day.”
Bobby Velvet (real name Robin Finnie), who studied for a post-graduate degree in psychology at the University of Glasgow, said research had shown both music and therapy pets could have long-lasting effects on people with Alzheimer’s disease and conditions linked to dementia.
Jean Macdonald who runs Velvet Hall Alpacas trekking centre in Innerleithen along with her partner Stuart Ramsay, where Rory and Pearson live with 27 other alpacas, said she had no fears about their showbiz debut.
“They are very gentle and trustworthy. They’ve been ring-bearers at weddings, with the first being in Cringletie House in Peebles. The guests all cheered and clapped and they entertained guests in between the ceremony and reception when the bridal party is away getting photos done.
“The boys were posing for selfies and the guests just loved them.”
Ms Macdonald added: “We were asked if we’d be willing to let the boys take part in Fringe by the Sea and I had no hesitation. There’s so much bad news we all need something like this for a bit of a laugh.”
Fringe by the Sea, now in its eleventh year, has 168 events over ten days running from 3-12 August and has contributed £1.9 million to the local economy.
Acts range from Jerry Sadowitz, Badly Drawn Boy and Mica Paris to jazz, author events including Misha Glennie whose book McMafia inspired the hit TV series earlier this year, former Liberal Leader Sir David Steele, and broadcaster James Naughtie.