Many would agree that Blackpool in November wouldn’t be their first choice for a weekend away. Like most British seaside resorts at this time of year, a walk along the promenade is not for the fainthearted with gusty winds and squally showers to contend with. Bracing it most certainly is! But members of the George Formby Society know a little secret. For two wonderful days we can hide away from the elements and enjoy warmth and friendship in The Imperial Hotel. This was one of the nicest conventions I have attended. A packed house and a happy atmosphere throughout. One of the best things about the GFS is the way we welcome and encourage new members, especially youngsters. We had Tai and Courtney earlier this year and this time we were wowed by young James who has only been playing for a few months but impressed us all. Also present for his first convention was young Marvin who, dressed in a fine three-piece suit, spent most of dad Callum’s cash on LPs at the auction on Saturday night. We look forward to seeing these lads become the next generation of top Formby style players. One such player who has ‘come through the ranks’ is our old friend and great George Formby ambassador, Andy Eastwood and it was great to see him make time in his hectic schedule to visit and play at the convention.  Flying the flag for the young ladies were the brilliant Davies Sisters. Not only can they both play Formby style superbly, but their close harmony singing is breathtaking and once again their Andrews Sisters tribute went down a storm. The GFS audience are tremendous supporters of all our performers – after all, we are in Blackpool to celebrate and remember George Formby. Some players are not quite confident enough to take to the stage on their own and it’s nice to see people getting together on stage – there is always strength in numbers. Kate Howard managed to get a few new faces up for the first time and we had members of the Sale Ukulele Group up there too. Let’s hope they come back again! Some people just come to Blackpool for the music but many of us have an interest (some bordering on obsession) with George’s life and career. We were treated to a visit from Heritage Blackpool who brought a small sample of the Cyril Critchlow Collection of theatre and music hall memorabilia collected during his lifetime in Blackpool. There were some nice photos of George and Beryl and the full collection is free to view in Blackpool Library. More information can be found at the website. Stuart Boston brought along his collection of George Formby endorsed Dallas ukuleles – a rare sight to see the whole family of Dallas ukes together. On Sunday evening, Chris Webster dropped in with George’s 1937 Silver Disc to commemorate the first 100 000 copies of The Window Cleaner. This was part of the Randall Collection but is now in the safe hands of Chris. An absolute treasure and many members were lucky enough to get their photo taken holding this unique piece of musical history. As ever, the committee rely on volunteers to help with the running of the convention. There are so many that it’s difficult to name them all. From taking photographs, looking after the sound and the microphones, compereing and organising concerts, running raffles and the shop, displaying archives, playing in the band and so much more. Thank you to all those who gave a little bit of their weekend up. Many hands make light work so if you are interested in helping please contact me. Until next time, on behalf of the GFS Committee I would like to thank you all for your support and wish you and yours the very best for Christmas and the New Year. Caroline Stewart
November 2017
Warmth and friendship of the GFS
Peter’s convention highlights… Comparing the Saturday evening concert,what a  privilege to be part of a such a memorable evening. The line- up of talent (arranged by my concert organiser Frances Lister) was mouth-wateringly good, with the cream of the GFS players lined up to entertain. Really nice to toast Lesley Fowkes on her birthday over a nice dinner with other close friends within the GFS. Lesley was then lucky enough to receive a kiss on stage from GFS President Gerry Mawdsley. Just how lucky can one person be! My old friend Chris Webster made an unexpected appearance and brought with him the silver disc awarded to George Formby in 1937 for the sale of 100,000 copies of “The Window Cleaner.” Chris has recently acquired this magnificent and unique item and was gracious enough to allow members to have photos taken with it  throughout the evening Andy Eastwood found the time to pay us a visit even though he is always solidly committed to his theatre career. Andy was playing Tessie O’Shea’s banjo-uke and of course was stunningly good (as usual). A delightful performance by The Davies Sisters, Francesca and Catalina are both so talented and of course they are always a treat to watch as well as listen to. Finally, playing alongside two great partners in Andy Poppleton and Caroline Stewart. Deafness is a curse but because of these two dear friends I am able to appear on stage at each convention, without them it would be very difficult.

GFS Chairman

Caroline Stewart writes…

Many would agree that Blackpool in November wouldn’t be their first choice for a weekend away. Like most British seaside resorts at this time of year, a walk along the promenade is not for the fainthearted with gusty winds and squally showers to contend with. Bracing it most certainly is! But members of the George Formby Society know a little secret. For two wonderful days we can hide away from the elements and enjoy warmth and friendship in The Imperial Hotel. This was one of the nicest conventions I have attended. A packed house and a happy atmosphere throughout. One of the best things about the GFS is the way we welcome and encourage new members, especially youngsters. We had Tai and Courtney earlier this year and this time we were wowed by young James who has only been playing for a few months but impressed us all. Also present for his first convention was young Marvin who, dressed in a fine three-piece suit, spent most of dad Callum’s cash on LPs at the auction on Saturday night. We look forward to seeing these lads become the next generation of top Formby style players. One such player who has ‘come through the ranks’ is our old friend and great George Formby ambassador, Andy Eastwood and it was great to see him make time in his hectic schedule to visit and play at the convention.  Flying the flag for the young ladies were the brilliant Davies Sisters. Not only can they both play Formby style superbly, but their close harmony singing is breathtaking and once again their Andrews Sisters tribute went down a storm. The GFS audience are tremendous supporters of all our performers – after all, we are in Blackpool to celebrate and remember George Formby. Some players are not quite confident enough to take to the stage on their own and it’s nice to see people getting together on stage – there is always strength in numbers. Kate Howard managed to get a few new faces up for the first time and we had members of the Sale Ukulele Group up there too. Let’s hope they come back again! Some people just come to Blackpool for the music but many of us have an interest (some bordering on obsession) with George’s life and career. We were treated to a visit from Heritage Blackpool who brought a small sample of the Cyril Critchlow Collection of theatre and music hall memorabilia collected during his lifetime in Blackpool. There were some nice photos of George and Beryl and the full collection is free to view in Blackpool Library. More information can be found at the website. Stuart Boston brought along his collection of George Formby endorsed Dallas ukuleles – a rare sight to see the whole family of Dallas ukes together. On Sunday evening, Chris Webster dropped in with George’s 1937 Silver Disc to commemorate the first 100 000 copies of The Window Cleaner. This was part of the Randall Collection but is now in the safe hands of Chris. An absolute treasure and many members were lucky enough to get their photo taken holding this unique piece of musical history. As ever, the committee rely on volunteers to help with the running of the convention. There are so many that it’s difficult to name them all. From taking photographs, looking after the sound and the microphones, compereing and organising concerts, running raffles and the shop, displaying archives, playing in the band and so much more. Thank you to all those who gave a little bit of their weekend up. Many hands make light work so if you are interested in helping please contact me. Until next time, on behalf of the GFS Committee I would like to thank you all for your support and wish you and yours the very best for Christmas and the New Year. Caroline Stewart
Warmth and friendship of the GFS

GFS Chairman

Caroline Stewart writes…

Peter’s convention highlights… Comparing the Saturday evening concert,what a  privilege to be part of a such a memorable evening. The line-up of talent (arranged by my concert organiser Frances Lister) was mouth- wateringly good, with the cream of the GFS players lined up to entertain. Really nice to toast Lesley Fowkes on her birthday over a nice dinner with other close friends within the GFS. Lesley was then lucky enough to receive a kiss on stage from GFS President Gerry Mawdsley. Just how lucky can one person be! My old friend Chris Webster made an unexpected appearance and brought with him the silver disc awarded to George Formby in 1937 for the sale of 100,000 copies of “The Window Cleaner.” Chris has recently acquired this magnificent and unique item and was gracious enough to allow members to have photos taken with it  throughout the evening Andy Eastwood found the time to pay us a visit even though he is always solidly committed to his theatre career. Andy was playing Tessie O’Shea’s banjo-uke and of course was stunningly good (as usual). A delightful performance by The Davies Sisters, Francesca and Catalina are both so talented and of course they are always a treat to watch as well as listen to. Finally, playing alongside two great partners in Andy Poppleton and Caroline Stewart. Deafness is a curse but because of these two dear friends I am able to appear on stage at each convention, without them it would be very difficult.