The Great British Banjo Company raises £48,000 on Kickstarter for British-made Shackleton banjo

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The Great British Banjo Company has achieved 160% of its Kickstarter crowdfunding target, raising a total of £48,141 ($78,000 US) and securing almost 150 advance orders for their British-made Shackleton banjo.

Simon Middleton and Nigel Cushion, creators of The Shackleton Banjo project

Simon Middleton and Nigel Cushion, creators of The Shackleton Banjo project

The Shackleton crowdfunding campaign is among the top 2% most successful ever campaigns on Kickstarter.

The Great British Banjo Company has achieved 160% of its Kickstarter crowdfunding target, raising a total of £48,141 ($78,000 US) and securing almost 150 advance orders for their British-made Shackleton banjo.

The result puts The Shackleton banjo campaign in the top 2% of most successful Kickstarter campaigns to date.

The campaign was supported online by a wide range of musicians and banjo luminaries who re-posted the company's updates, including Bela Fleck and Ned Luberecki, as well as UK broadcasters Mike Harding, Bob Harris and Mark Radcliffe, and high profile folk artists Martin Simpson and Eliza Carthy.

Supporters from all over the world have pledged between £15 and £2,500 ($4,000) to claim a variety of rewards ranging from souvenir gifts and clothing through to first-edition Shackleton banjos.

Company founder Simon Middleton, a brand expert and author of popular entrepreneur's manual 'Build A Brand In 30 Days' said:

"The Kickstarter campaign for The Shackleton has been an even bigger success than we hoped. With so many advance orders we can now begin production with real confidence and we know for sure that there really is a market for a British-made banjo."

The Shackleton banjo will be the first volume-production banjo to be genuinely manufactured in Britain for more than 60 years. The necks and rims will be 100% manufactured in Britain, and assembly will all be carried out in the company's Norwich, Norfolk workshop.

The Shackleton banjo is named in honour of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the British explorer who led the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914.

The banjo belonging to the expedition's meteorologist played an unexpected but vital role in the journey, after Shackleton's ship Endurance was crushed by ice and had to be abandoned.

Although each man was only allowed to take two pounds in weight of personal possessions off the ship, Shackleton made an exception for the banjo, famously declaring: "We must have that banjo, it is vital mental medicine."

It proved a wise decision, because when Shackleton and a small team had to leave 22 men trapped on Elephant Island for several months while they set off on an 800-mile voyage in a small open boat to seek for help, the banjo played a vital role in maintaining morale for those left behind.

The marooned men held regular concert parties and wrote songs on the banjo.

"It's a fantastic story of British pluck and determination," explained Simon Middleton, managing director of The Great British Banjo Company, "and it has inspired us to undertake our own adventure: to build an affordable banjo in Britain, which has not been done for so many decades."

"We are thrilled with the response from banjo enthusiasts, as well as from people who just want to support British manufacturing," Middleton added.

Company Information:

The Great British Banjo Company Limited, which also owns online specialist store Banjos Direct, is based in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

The company works with local craftsmen as well as instrument manufacturers in other parts of Britain.

The business was founded by brand adviser, business author and musician Simon Middleton and has grown rapidly to become the UK's best known banjo specialist retailer and manufacturer.

The Great British Banjo Company is a private limited company, owned and managed by a small group of family and friends in Norwich, Norfolk, UK.

For further information, visit: http://www.thegreatbritishbanjocompany.com/.

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