Everyone has a part to play Nobody could argue with the fact that the pioneers of the GFS started something in 1961 that was to change so many things in so many peoples lives – their actions in attending the inaugural meeting on September 16th 1961 in the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool would have far reaching effects on so many people down the years. But it can also be said that the people who turned up at the 50th anniversary convention in September 2011 in the same Imperial Hotel, also played their part in the long and glorious history of the George Formby Society. Once again, a packed house throughout the weekend with so many great performers. Many would say that the March 2011 convention was probably the best ever – but for many different reasons, September was just as good. John switches on the lights A special moment from a very special weekend was of course the unique award to founder member John Walley who was there on day one and fifty years later is still there, he has never lost his love of Formby or the GFS and I think everyone in the room was touched by his humble reaction to a glowing speech from President Gerry Mawdsley. Nobody would begrudge John his moment in the limelight, it is well earned and rightly deserved. John also featured in the other big highlight of Saturday when he emulated our George and actually switched on the Blackpool illuminations. The members loved it as John pulled the switch from the front entrance of the Imperial Hotel and lit up the length and breadth of Blackpool promenade. Special mention should go here to drummer for the weekend, Geoff Shone. Apart from some brilliant drumming throughout the weekend, Geoff was the clever lad who came up with the idea of a member being allowed to turn the lights on. Well done, Geoff. Spotlight On Youth We also had a great start to the weekend with a short concert entitled "Spotlight On Youth" when a few of the younger members took to the stage and entertained a packed Lancastrian Suite. Tommy Bland, Michael Pickles, Eleanor Bullen-Hyde, Francesca Davies and James Bassett all excelled themselves and we had something a little different when Eleanor played "Leaning On A Lampost" on her violin - the members sang along with her, and all the younger members got a thunderous round of applause at the end. Looking back with John and Dennis As well as the youngsters and the John Walley moments, we also had a drinks reception courtesy of Visit Blackpool and then a new video presentation by Peter Pollard. This involved a discussion between the aforementioned John Walley and the late, much lamented Dennis Taylor. The footage was actually shot at the November gathering in 2009 when we returned to the Imperial after 20 years at the Winter Gardens. John and Dennis accompanied Peter with his camera and they went in to the room were it all began 50 years ago. The feature lasted 30 minutes and the full-house audience really appreciated John and Dennis's contribution. One of the problems in making such a feature is that there is very little archive material from those early days, but with the help of the talents of John, Dennis, George Formby and some of the present-day members, a very interesting feature was created. Max Miller President of the GFS Gerry Mawdsley, accompanied by his wife Vivien (who although suffering illness, made the effort to be there for the whole weekend,) was kept busy presenting the special award, officiating at the Illuminations switch on, auctioning items to raise money for worthy good causes and helping to promote the weekend, and actually giving a brilliant performance as an all round comedian as well. Dressed in a Max Miller outfit, he certainly not only looked the part, but he had the audience splitting their sides with his unrehearsed humour. A display of photographs and documents relating to the first meeting was prepared by archivist Neil Forshaw and this again was of great interest to all. 1940s outfits Many of the members took up the challenge of coming in 1940's outfits. These ranged from military uniforms right through to 40's school boys and black market racketeers. A great display and lets face it, we all like to dress up. Those who turned up in the right style, certainly helped to make the weekend the great success that it was. The ladies in the shop must also be congratulated for working hard to record highest ever shop sales for a Blackpool weekend For those who November still to come couldn't be with us, don't forget that we still have the November convention where we can once again raise a glass and toast not only our great hero George Formby, but especially to the Society which has kept his name in the limelight. It has certainly been responsible for creating wonderful friendships between like-minded individuals who, but for George and Beryl and the efforts of those early GFS pioneers, would never ever have met. Well done to all who supported the GFS and came to Blackpool to add their own bit of history to the 50th year of The George Formby Society. Peter Pollard September 2011
SEPTEMBER 2011
The Golden Jubilee Convention
Everyone has a part to play Nobody could argue with the fact that the pioneers of the GFS started something in 1961 that was to change so many things in so many peoples lives – their actions in attending the inaugural meeting on September 16th 1961 in the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool would have far reaching effects on so many people down the years. But it can also be said that the people who turned up at the 50th anniversary convention in September 2011 in the same Imperial Hotel, also played their part in the long and glorious history of the George Formby Society. Once again, a packed house throughout the weekend with so many great performers. Many would say that the March 2011 convention was probably the best ever – but for many different reasons, September was just as good. John switches on the lights A special moment from a very special weekend was of course the unique award to founder member John Walley who was there on day one and fifty years later is still there, he has never lost his love of Formby or the GFS and I think everyone in the room was touched by his humble reaction to a glowing speech from President Gerry Mawdsley. Nobody would begrudge John his moment in the limelight, it is well earned and rightly deserved. John also featured in the other big highlight of Saturday when he emulated our George and actually switched on the Blackpool illuminations. The members loved it as John pulled the switch from the front entrance of the Imperial Hotel and lit up the length and breadth of Blackpool promenade. Special mention should go here to drummer for the weekend, Geoff Shone. Apart from some brilliant drumming throughout the weekend, Geoff was the clever lad who came up with the idea of a member being allowed to turn the lights on. Well done, Geoff. Spotlight On Youth We also had a great start to the weekend with a short concert entitled "Spotlight On Youth" when a few of the younger members took to the stage and entertained a packed Lancastrian Suite. Tommy Bland, Michael Pickles, Eleanor Bullen-Hyde, Francesca Davies and James Bassett all excelled themselves and we had something a little different when Eleanor played "Leaning On A Lampost" on her violin - the members sang along with her, and all the younger members got a thunderous round of applause at the end. Looking back with John and Dennis As well as the youngsters and the John Walley moments, we also had a drinks reception courtesy of Visit Blackpool and then a new video presentation by Peter Pollard. This involved a discussion between the aforementioned John Walley and the late, much lamented Dennis Taylor. The footage was actually shot at the November gathering in 2009 when we returned to the Imperial after 20 years at the Winter Gardens. John and Dennis accompanied Peter with his camera and they went in to the room were it all began 50 years ago. The feature lasted 30 minutes and the full-house audience really appreciated John and Dennis's contribution. One of the problems in making such a feature is that there is very little archive material from those early days, but with the help of the talents of John, Dennis, George Formby and some of the present-day members, a very interesting feature was created. Max Miller President of the GFS Gerry Mawdsley, accompanied by his wife Vivien (who although suffering illness, made the effort to be there for the whole weekend,) was kept busy presenting the special award, officiating at the Illuminations switch on, auctioning items to raise money for worthy good causes and helping to promote the weekend, and actually giving a brilliant performance as an all round comedian as well. Dressed in a Max Miller outfit, he certainly not only looked the part, but he had the audience splitting their sides with his unrehearsed humour. A display of photographs and documents relating to the first meeting was prepared by archivist Neil Forshaw and this again was of great interest to all. 1940s outfits Many of the members took up the challenge of coming in 1940's outfits. These ranged from military uniforms right through to 40's school boys and black market racketeers. A great display and lets face it, we all like to dress up. Those who turned up in the right style, certainly helped to make the weekend the great success that it was. The ladies in the shop must also be congratulated for working hard to record highest ever shop sales for a Blackpool weekend For those who November still to come couldn't be with us, don't forget that we still have the November convention where we can once again raise a glass and toast not only our great hero George Formby, but especially to the Society which has kept his name in the limelight. It has certainly been responsible for creating wonderful friendships between like-minded individuals who, but for George and Beryl and the efforts of those early GFS pioneers, would never ever have met. Well done to all who supported the GFS and came to Blackpool to add their own bit of history to the 50th year of The George Formby Society. Peter Pollard September 2011
SEPTEMBER 2011
The Golden Jubilee Convention