Critics put the squeeze on Daphne's music

GRANDMOTHER Daphne Jones' unique style of accordion playing was just too much for staff in Hastings town centre shops.

After over an hour of her performance at Wellington Place their ears could take no more.

A council street warden was sent out to move Daphne on to another part of the town centre and give shop staff a break from her playing.

A shopper said: "Daphne plays all the old popular standards. Maybe it's my ears but sometimes these popular tunes are hardly recognisable when she gets going. And you always feel that the rhythm she uses in a tune might just be the wrong one for that particular melody. Purists might groan but most people find it amusing. In any case, Daphne doesn't do any harm and there are a lot of people who do like to hear her play."

Daphne, 68, who lives at Bristol Road, Hollington, was aghast at being told to move on. After a conversation with the warden three more wardens were called to the scene.

The accordion playing grandmother who has been playing in the town centre for nine years said she was going to pack up at that time anyway.

While the shop staff might have enjoyed the interruption, couple Brian and Josephine Austin who saw the incident were not amused.

They accused the council of being heavy handed. Brian said: "It was like a police state. We wondered what law the old girl had broken to warrant four street wardens sent out to tackle her."

Josephine said: "When I asked why they needed four wardens, the first one said Mrs Jones had sworn at her and she had to call for back-up. I think it is ridiculous that four wardens were needed for a little old lady with an accordion."

Daphne said: "Why doesn't the council do something about the beggars and the skateboarders in the town centre? The skateboarders are a real danger and I wasn't causing any harm. I don't ask for money. People can give me money if they want to. Sometimes I get 2 in an afternoon and sometimes I get as much as 10. I play in Hastings town centre on Thursdays for the pensioners. They all like it. I have been playing in Hastings for nine years and I'm not going to give up.

"The Mayor of Hastings heard me playing at Evesham and told me how much he enjoyed it."

l A Hastings Council spokeswoman said: "The wardens told Mrs Jones that there had been complaints from local shopkeepers and their customers about the noise of her playing her accordion and suggested that she moved to a different town centre location.

"Unfortunately Mrs Jones got very upset and angry with the wardens and refused to move.

"The wardens reported the noise nuisance to colleagues under the Environmental Protection Act. They were then advised by the environmental services team that because of the growing public interest the police should be called to the scene."