Cathy MacLaughlin started learning to play guitar when she was only 8 years old, taking lessons from her brother on his Hofner guitar which was purchased from Rushworth's on the Wirral across the Mersey river made famous by Gerry and the Pacemakers in the movie Ferry Across the Mersey. When she was just 17, Cathy started working in Cranes, a musical instrument shop on Hanover Street in Liverpool. Cranes is situated in the heart of the town centre and sold organs, pianos and guitars as well as sheet music. Cathy worked in the pedals, accessories and acoustic instrument department where she learned to play and tune various acoustic instruments including the mandolin. Later, after leaving Cranes, Cathy started her own business selling music posters and t-shirts including Beatles related items. Cathy even persuaded one of the exhibitors at the guitar shows to let her sell her merchandise in her own stall at shows all over the UK. After meeting her partner, Will Woo, Cathy took over Frets guitar show events. She has also performed folk music for many years with various bands and was able to meet her heroes from the folk scene, such as Steeleye Span, a folk group who had the 1975 hit, “All Around My Hat”, which rose to number 7 on the UK charts.
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