A CLOUGHMILLS singer had a New Year's Eve of a life time when he performed to thousands of people in Gibraltar.
Richard Aitcheson of Main Street, was asked to front the eight-piece band gigging at two separate concerts in the Mediterranean City including a black tie event for government officials and the New Year's Eve celebrations.
Speaking to the Times, the father of two explained: "I've been doing the club and pub circuit for over 13 years now, since I was 18, paying at hundreds of venues throughout Ireland, Scotland and England.
"Originally I was in a band called Klass however that broke up and I'm now in a four piece band called FreeFall which has members from Larne, Carrickfergus and Belfast.
"For the past three years our agent Glen Houston Entertainments has been involved with the Ministry of Culture in Gibraltar, which is now twinned with Ballymena, sending local bands over to perform whilst also welcoming bands back.
"However last month Glen got a request from the Ministry of Culture for a local band to perform at their New Year's Eve celebrations and FreeFall jumped at the chance. However due to work commitments two members of the band couldn't come and so myself and our drummer Glen McCracken went on our own - it was a chance of a lifetime which we couldn't miss.
"We were then joined with another six local performers to make up an eight-piece band which had its own brass section and base guitar - I was the lead vocalists and therefore was fronting the band.
"The whole thing was scary but a great adrenaline rush. We hadn't played together before but we were determined to give our all and show Gibraltar what we were made of."
After numerous rehearsals and planning, Richard and the band celebrated Christmas with family and then headed to Gibraltar the following week.
Richard continued: "On the Thursday night (December 30) we performed at a Black Tie event to hundreds of dignitaries including the Ministry of Culture, Spanish government officials etc. Then on the Friday night, New Year's Eve, we performed at an open air concert in Casemates Square to over 4,500 which was absolutely amazing.
"At midnight there was a fireworks display and then we hit the stage until 3pm. The crowds were just dancing away to the music which was everything from the 60's to the present day chart hits - the atmosphere was electric.
"Thanks to our agent Glen Houston and Events Unlimited, the organisers in Gibraltar, we also had the best sound equipment you could ever imagine - it was unreal, the sort of equipment you would see at the Odyssey in Belfast.
"It really was the biggest gig I have ever played to and I will never ever forget it - for weeks I had a constant smile on my face. And what's more the Ministry of Culture have asked us to come back next New Year's Eve as they said we went down a storm!"
For more information about FreeFall check out the band, photos and videos at ghentertainment.co.uk.