SEPTEMBER 2009
The final Winter Gardens meeting
Another great weekend, probably one of the best attendances for quite some time, with members enjoying for the last time, the Winter Gardens facilities. A full range of artists performed throughout the weekend and members travelled from as far away as the west coast of the USA. The concerts on both Saturday and Sunday evening did not finish until after 23:30 with good attendances in the Pavilion Theatre all over the weekend, in fact on Saturday we had to introduce extra seating to accommodate the audience. Annual general meeting On Sunday morning the annual general meeting took place with once again, a decent attendance for this very important event. There was a vote for new committee members as there were three people bidding for two positions. The winners of the vote were existing member Alan Chenery, and a new face on the committee and a very popular vote for Peter Nixon. Peter will be the youngest member of the committee and is very enthusiastic about the future of the GFS. There were some great performances over the weekend and it isn’t really fair to single anyone out but what a player Sean Rutter is turning into, little more then 12 months since he attended his first convention. It is so rewarding to see the development of young talented players and this young man is surely destined to be one of the best. Honorary membership awarded On a personal note, I missed the June convention as I was in hospital that weekend recovering from some surgery. On Saturday night GFS President Gerry Mawdsley bestowed honorary membership to me, what a contrast between two conventions! Convention favourite Frances Terry celebrated her 80th birthday and was presented with a special certificate in celebration of all the entertainment she has given to the members over the last 18 years. The curtain comes down So, finally the curtain comes down on our association with the legendary Blackpool Winter Gardens, some nineteen years since we moved into the building sometime around 1990. In that time we have enjoyed one of the UK’s finest conference and entertainment stages albeit with more than the occasional and sometimes quite sudden instructions to either move the weekend or actually move the room. The reason we will no longer enjoy this town centre facility is because Blackpool Tourism have withdrawn funding of £1,000,000 per year to the Winter Gardens which has enabled the George Formby Society to enjoy this major facility free of charge for all these years. Although we have had some wonderful times in the Winter Gardens and it has been home to all who joined from the early 90’s, for many reasons I personally am not sorry that we now have to stand up for ourselves and control our own destiny. Past problems in the Winter Gardens The number of times that the Winter Gardens people have moved the room at the last minute or have even changed the date of the convention (September ’09 being a case in point) has in my opinion been shameful and not in the least professional. It might be said that we haven’t had to pay the Winter Gardens a fee and that beggars can’t be choosers but the Winter Gardens have been accepting big handouts from Blackpool Tourism so in effect the room allocated to us was bought and paid for and should have been ours by right. But it seems the Winter Gardens people have just taken the grant and then taken advantage of our right to be in their building. On the other hand we have had some fantastic times in this magnificent venue and I am sure that many will miss attending and playing right in the very heart of Blackpool. Now a new dawn beckons and we move to the venue where it all began over 47 years ago. I for one am sure our stay in the Imperial Hotel will be a long and happy one but we do need the full support of the membership, not only to come to the conventions, but also to support Blackpool Tourism who have backed and supported the George Formby Society all these years.
SEPTEMBER 2009
The final Winter Gardens meeting
Another great weekend, probably one of the best attendances for quite some time, with members enjoying for the last time, the Winter Gardens facilities. A full range of artists performed throughout the weekend and members travelled from as far away as the west coast of the USA. The concerts on both Saturday and Sunday evening did not finish until after 23:30 with good attendances in the Pavilion Theatre all over the weekend, in fact on Saturday we had to introduce extra seating to accommodate the audience. Annual general meeting On Sunday morning the annual general meeting took place with once again, a decent attendance for this very important event. There was a vote for new committee members as there were three people bidding for two positions. The winners of the vote were existing member Alan Chenery, and a new face on the committee and a very popular vote for Peter Nixon. Peter will be the youngest member of the committee and is very enthusiastic about the future of the GFS. There were some great performances over the weekend and it isn’t really fair to single anyone out but what a player Sean Rutter is turning into, little more then 12 months since he attended his first convention. It is so rewarding to see the development of young talented players and this young man is surely destined to be one of the best. Honorary membership awarded On a personal note, I missed the June convention as I was in hospital that weekend recovering from some surgery. On Saturday night GFS President Gerry Mawdsley bestowed honorary membership to me, what a contrast between two conventions! Convention favourite Frances Terry celebrated her 80th birthday and was presented with a special certificate in celebration of all the entertainment she has given to the members over the last 18 years. The curtain comes down So, finally the curtain comes down on our association with the legendary Blackpool Winter Gardens, some nineteen years since we moved into the building sometime around 1990. In that time we have enjoyed one of the UK’s finest conference and entertainment stages albeit with more than the occasional and sometimes quite sudden instructions to either move the weekend or actually move the room. The reason we will no longer enjoy this town centre facility is because Blackpool Tourism have withdrawn funding of £1,000,000 per year to the Winter Gardens which has enabled the George Formby Society to enjoy this major facility free of charge for all these years. Although we have had some wonderful times in the Winter Gardens and it has been home to all who joined from the early 90’s, for many reasons I personally am not sorry that we now have to stand up for ourselves and control our own destiny. Past problems in the Winter Gardens The number of times that the Winter Gardens people have moved the room at the last minute or have even changed the date of the convention (September ’09 being a case in point) has in my opinion been shameful and not in the least professional. It might be said that we haven’t had to pay the Winter Gardens a fee and that beggars can’t be choosers but the Winter Gardens have been accepting big handouts from Blackpool Tourism so in effect the room allocated to us was bought and paid for and should have been ours by right. But it seems the Winter Gardens people have just taken the grant and then taken advantage of our right to be in their building. On the other hand we have had some fantastic times in this magnificent venue and I am sure that many will miss attending and playing right in the very heart of Blackpool. Now a new dawn beckons and we move to the venue where it all began over 47 years ago. I for one am sure our stay in the Imperial Hotel will be a long and happy one but we do need the full support of the membership, not only to come to the conventions, but also to support Blackpool Tourism who have backed and supported the George Formby Society all these years.