HE WANDERS the streets of South Yorkshire serenading folk with his tailor-made tunes for special celebrations.
So it was only fitting that Mike the Minstrel, the Rotherham-based performer, created a song to commemorate The Star’s 125th anniversary.
Mike Collins - as he is known on non-working days - began his business after completing his degree in popular music in Sheffield.
Donning traditional medieval dress and arming himself with a guitar, he began his own business delivering birthday greetings, proposals and surprises through the medium of song.
He also gives his subjects a CD containing the song.
Crafting a melody for The Star was one of his most daunting tasks to date, as he had to research the big events covered since the newspaper was founded in 1887. Lyrics cover everything from the Hillsborough disaster to Jess Ennis’ Olympic glory.
And he stopped by the newspaper office in York Street to showcase his work.
Mike, who lives in Mexborough, said: “The response was great. Afterwards, one of the ladies in reception was heard to say, ‘I really enjoyed that’.
“All of the music for my greetings songs is original, it has to be like that if I am producing a CD and uploading them to the internet, because of copyright.
“I started out covering the whole of Yorkshire but now I’m just concentrating on Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley and building it up.
There’s a big demand. I did a woman’s 40th and got lots of details from her husband to help me make it really personal and funny. I’ve done a few proposals, too.
“People like it, it’s quite unusual. It started years ago.”
And it seems The Star is not alone in giving Mike the Minstrel the thumbs-up. He recently won a ‘recommended company’ accolade on website Free Index
* 125 years of the Sheffield Star
125 years ago, a newspaper was revealed,
To bring you all the stories from the City of Steel,
They brought you tragedy and drama and some silly stories too,
So let’s celebrate the headlines Sheffield Star brought to you.
It’s the Sheffield Star, number one by far.
Bringing all the headlines for 125 years,
They bring tales of shame and glory and they always get the story,
So let’s hear it for the Sheffield Star.
They follow Wednesday and United through every celebration,
They were there at each promotion and at every relegation,
And when it comes to local sport they are always in the zone,
And they were there when the English FA Cup came home.
They were there at Hillsborough when the 96 were lost,
They were there when the truth came out and the police counted the cost,
They were there when Johnny Marry and Jess Ennis took their crown,
They were there when Margaret Thatcher and the police brought the miners down.