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giving back

A series of accidents and tragedies brought home the importance of the hospital to Joe and Fatima Bamford, shown outside the West Parry Sound Health Centre.TED KRUG/The Globe and Mail

The donors: Joe and Fatima Bamford

The gift: Raising $71,000 and climbing

The cause: West Parry Sound Health Centre

The reason: To help pay for new equipment

When Joe Bamford got out of the music management business, after stints with several groups in the 1980s including Glass Tiger, he decided to try something different.

He started Haljoe Coaches in the early 1990s, a company that specializes in providing custom-made buses for touring musicians, and his client list now includes Blue Rodeo, Matthew Good and the Tragically Hip. About three years ago, he parlayed the business into a fundraising vehicle, called Get Off the Bus, for the West Parry Sound Health Centre in Parry Sound, Ont., close to where Mr. Bamford and his wife Fatima live for part of the year.

He managed to persuade several of his bus clients to do charity concerts for the hospital, bringing big names such as Willie Nelson and Jann Arden to town. So far, 21 Get Off the Bus concerts have raised about $71,000 for the hospital, most of which has gone to buy new equipment. He has also organized concerts for other charities and he has managed to get some musicians to donate instruments for fundraising auctions.

Mr. Bamford, 67, said it was a series of accidents and tragedies that brought home the importance of the hospital. He lost his son-in-law to cancer and broke his legs in a car accident. "I was kind of in the mood to do something," he said from his office in Florida, where the couple are also based. "I just thought this was something I could do."

His goal is to raise $100,000 for the Parry Sound hospital and then hold a summer music festival that would raise even more money.

"People always ask me why do I do this?" he said. "And I say, 'Because it makes me happy.'"