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Banff Elvis Gary Stuart preparing for massive musical birthday bash


By Lewis McBlane

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AFTER 27 years of love, loss, and media attention, Banff's Elvis is gearing up for his 60th birthday bash.

Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Gary Stuart, veteran Elvis Tribute Artist for the last three decades, has told his story before his musical 60th birthday celebration this August.

Timed to coincide with the 45th anniversary of Elvis's death, the party will feature a full set by Gary along with karaoke, a disco, a blues singer and other acts.

Gary said: "Rock and roll costume is optional, but obviously I will be dressed up flashy in a suit I have had made.

"With the world a mess, we all just need a good party."

A duet performance by Gary and new fiancée Tina on Elvis tune This is Our Dance will be the night's centrepiece.

Gary says performing together inspired Tina, who struggles with her mobility, to be less reliant on her wheelchair.

Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Gary said: "I said to her: 'If you can get out of that wheelchair, if you motivate yourself and try to get walking, on party night we can dance together arm-in-arm as I sing the song and we can announce our engagement.'

"It will be a special time for her because she loves that song."

Gary's Elvis career has taken him across the UK, from London to John O'Groats, and as far as the USA and Portugal.

No stranger to media attention, he has been on TV shows including Good Morning Britain, Trisha and even the Jeremy Kyle Show.

He has also appeared in a host of national newspapers, including the News of the World, but now lives a quieter life focussing on his two passions: Elvis and Tina.

Tina moved from Kent to stay next door to Gary in Banff, and the two are already planning a big trip.

Gary said: "Tina is definitely the woman I need in my life now.

"We want to go to Graceland, Memphis don't we?

"There is a wedding chapel there and we want to renew our vows there after we get married."

Tina said: "Since I met him, I have taken 3000 pictures of him.

"Two phones are full already and this one is getting there."

Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

The two have also set their engagement in stone by getting two budgies – named Elvis and Cilla.

Gary said: "They can be noisy buggers like – I think they can hear my singing."

The new-found love marks a new beginning for Gary after two previous marriages.

He said: "When I got married the first time, 20 years ago, I did an Elvis-themed wedding where I sang my vows.

"The marriage lasted four and a half years but things changed for her.

"She said: 'I am fed up of the Elvis thing.'

"But as Jeremy Kyle said when I was on the show: 'She knew what she was getting herself into.'

"She put me out of the house, so I was homeless for three months, which was quite scary."

Things would sink even lower for Gary after his divorce, however, after a fairytale romance went awry.

Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

He said: "I met a woman called Rikki from South Padre Island in Texas.

"She heard me singing online on an Elvis website and said: 'I am coming over there to hear you sing.'

"When she came over, I sang to her and she started crying.

"We planned to get engaged but immigration came at 3am to take her back to America.

"That was the last time I saw her."

Tragically, Rikki died soon after returning to the States.

Gary said: "It messed me up for a long time. I couldn't sing for five months.

"She went back with her husband, which wasn't a marriage of love.

"He was one of the biggest drug pushers in Texas and she got her pills off him.

"I heard she had cancer but it could have been a heroin overdose because she had a drug problem when she was here.

"After Rikki passed away, I also lost my mum and dad.

"My dad died on Father's Day 2017 and six months later my mum passed away from lung cancer.

"I still struggle with that from time to time."

Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..
Gary Stuart, Elvis Tribute Artist, with fiancée Tina, ahead of his 60th birthday...Picture: Daniel Forsyth..

Throughout so much lost love and tragedy, singing has remained Gary's true passion.

He said: "I just kept singing for all those years, through all my problems, and it basically kept me sane."

Gary's commitment to music and The King's legacy have made him one of Banff's biggest local celebrities.

Over the years, Gary has found his own unique place in Banff's heart.

He said: "When I see things about me on the internet and I go to the nice comments, they make me cry.

"It is so positive the things they say, like: 'My daughter loves to see him all the time'; 'He makes Banff'; 'He brings life to it'; 'He is great'.

"The power of music, man, you see what I mean?

"Every time I pass the primary school kids all come down wanting high-fives.

"It is amazing, Elvis has been gone 45 years and children today still know who he is.

"Elvis will never be forgotten."


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