john beck
One of the few members who actually met George
It is with great sadness that I have to report the untimely death of long- term GFS member John Beck. John has been a member of the GFS for many years and was one of the few people who actually had contact with George Formby. When John was a young man, he worked in the boat yard used by George Formby. John was well known in Blackpool at the GFS conventions for his singing of Norfolk songs, especially "Have You Got A Light Boy?" Here are a few images from my collection, together with a video clip of John and his song at the 2008 GFS Convention in the Pavilion Theatre within the Winter Gardens complex. John attended the Essex branch of the GFS. Sincere condolences to John's family.
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When John Beck left school in 1938, he started work in Herbert Woods boat yard on the River Thurne at Potter Heigham on the Norfolk Broads.  The move brought him into contact with George Formby and John remembers this rather exciting period of his youth.  " It all began in 1947 ," said John  "George Formby bought a secondhand boat called the Maudau and he had it brought into our boatyard where it was converted into a two-berth cruiser.  It was then re-launched as the first Lady Beryl  "My step-father was the foreman engineer at the boatyard and he knew George Formby very well. After some repairs, as we left the boat, we met George and Beryl coming from the house.  George thanked us and gave us half-a-crown each, which was a very generous gesture indeed.  "My mother worked in the nearby stores and noticed that George never seemed to carry any money.
 She would say to me, 'George has been in again and picked up some provisions for his boat’  I expect Beryl will be along later to pay for them as she usually does' 'There were six of us young lads working in the boatyard and we all had motor bikes.  One of the lads bought a new Ariel Red Hunter.  He brought it to the yard and as he was cleaning it, the rest of us stood around admiring the bike.  Suddenly, George's head popped up out of the hatch and a few minutes later he came wandering over wearing his cap.  " He tood with us admiring the bike and promptly asked the lad if he could have a ride on it.  Well, the lad was overjoyed - the great George Formby riding his motorbike! "George turned his cap back-to-front, jumped on the bike and roared away.  Up and down the yard he went for about ten minute , then came riding back.  'Eee! that were champion, ' he said                
Extracts from a Vellum article by John : Summer 1998
john beck
One of the few members who met George
It is with great sadness that I have to report the untimely death of long-term GFS member John Beck. John has been a member of the GFS for many years and was one of the few people who actually had contact with George Formby. When John was a young man, he worked in the boat yard used by George Formby. John was well known in Blackpool at the GFS conventions for his singing of Norfolk songs, especially "Have You Got A Light Boy?" Here are a few images from my collection, together with a video clip of John and his song at the 2008 GFS Convention in the Pavilion Theatre within the Winter Gardens complex. John attended the Essex branch of the GFS. Sincere condolences to John's family.
HOME HOME A - Z A - Z
When John Beck left school in 1938, he started work in Herbert Woods boat yard on the River Thurne at Potter Heigham on the Norfolk Broads.  The move brought him into contact with George Formby and John remembers this rather exciting period of his youth.  " It all began in 1947 ," said John  "George Formby bought a secondhand boat called the Maudau and he had it brought into our boatyard where it was converted into a two-berth cruiser.  It was then re-launched as the first Lady Beryl  "My step-father was the foreman engineer at the boatyard and he knew George Formby very well. After some repairs, as we left the boat, we met George and Beryl coming from the house.  George thanked us and gave us half-a-crown each, which was a very generous gesture indeed.  "My mother worked in the nearby stores and noticed that George never seemed to carry any money.  She would say to me, 'George has been in again and picked up some provisions for his boat’  I expect Beryl will be along later to pay for them as she usually does' 'There were six of us young lads working in the boatyard and we all had motor bikes.  One of the lads bought a new Ariel Red Hunter.  He brought it to the yard and as he was cleaning it, the rest of us stood around admiring the bike.  Suddenly, George's head popped up out of the hatch and a few minutes later he came wandering over wearing his cap.  " He tood with us admiring the bike and promptly asked the lad if he could have a ride on it.  Well, the lad was overjoyed - the great George Formby riding his motorbike! "George turned his cap back-to-front, jumped on the bike and roared away.  Up and down the yard he went for about ten minute , then came riding back.  'Eee! that were champion, ' he said                
Extracts from a Vellum article by John Summer 1998