pat howson
George dies while planning wedding
There could never be any other partnership than George and Beryl. They had been constantly together since their marriage on September 13 1924. Beryl was and did everything for George, from managing his flight to stardom to packing his suitcase for the next show. She was always there, either watching from the wings or taking a part in George's shows. Even if she wasn't involved, she would always arrive on stage at the end of each evenings performance to be presented with a bouquet of flowers. It was therefore major headline news when George announced shortly after Beryl's death on December 24 1960, that he was to marry a young Preston schoolteacher named Pat Howson. George was 56 at this time, twenty years older than Pat. She had known George for a number of years through her father who was an old friend. George bought Pat a new Rover motor car and they posed for photographs with Pat showing off her new diamond engagement ring. "It might seem strange, but I hope that my friends will not begrudge me the happiness that has come to me" said George at the time. Shortly after the engagement was announced, George went on record as saying that he and Beryl had not lived as man and wife for over fifteen years. He spoke of her drinking habits and said that he had tried to keep alcohol away from Beryl in the hope that he could contain her intake. He also spoke of the fact that he was a Roman Catholic and Beryl was a atheist. He said that if he wished to attend a service at church, it would lead to rows between them.. "Everyone is learning of my heartache and worry at having a wife who became a alcoholic and even tried to turn me away from my religion". Poor Beryl of course was dying of cancer and must have relied on alcohol to relive the constant pain she was suffering from. The forthcoming wedding of George Formby and Pat Howson was major headline news in Britain. The wedding was originally set to take place in May 1961 but was later brought forward to the March. Two tickets were booked for a honeymoon cruise to the West Indies and a house was selected at Lea near Preston. George though, had never really fully recovered from his heart attack at the time of "Zip Goes A Million" in 1951. He had to take pills every day of his life and he had put on quite a lot of weight. Eight days after the engagement announcement, George complained of stomach pains whilst enjoying a candle-lit dinner with Pat. A doctor was summoned and George was taken to St. Joseph's Roman Catholic hospital at Penwortham. On his first day in hospital, Pat visited him four times although all visitors except close relatives were banned from the bed side. George did however make good progress with his recovery and was eventually allowed out of bed for a short while. His condition was regarded as "satisfactory". On March 6th 1961, Pat was at George's bedside. They were chatting about their wedding plans and holding hands when Pat noticed a change in his condition. Immediately the doctors and nurses were called but to no avail, George died within a few minutes. Pat's story doesn't end there though. George Formby had changed his will, leaving almost his entire estate to her. George's family contested the will and eventually modest payments were made to George's mother. The money though didn't really do Pat much good as there were many legal wranglings and much of the wealth was eaten up in legal costs. Sadly, on November 22 1971, Pat Howson died of cancer, she was 46 years old. Before her death, she had made sure that all future royalties from George's records would be donated to charity.
pat howson
The bride-to-be
There could never be any other partnership than George and Beryl. They had been constantly together since their marriage on September 13 1924. Beryl was and did everything for George, from managing his flight to stardom to packing his suitcase for the next show. She was always there, either watching from the wings or taking a part in George's shows. Even if she wasn't involved, she would always arrive on stage at the end of each evenings performance to be presented with a bouquet of flowers. It was therefore major headline news when George announced shortly after Beryl's death on December 24 1960, that he was to marry a young Preston schoolteacher named Pat Howson. George was 56 at this time, twenty years older than Pat. She had known George for a number of years through her father who was an old friend. George bought Pat a new Rover motor car and they posed for photographs with Pat showing off her new diamond engagement ring. "It might seem strange, but I hope that my friends will not begrudge me the happiness that has come to me" said George at the time. Shortly after the engagement was announced, George went on record as saying that he and Beryl had not lived as man and wife for over fifteen years. He spoke of her drinking habits and said that he had tried to keep alcohol away from Beryl in the hope that he could contain her intake. He also spoke of the fact that he was a Roman Catholic and Beryl was a atheist. He said that if he wished to attend a service at church, it would lead to rows between them.. "Everyone is learning of my heartache and worry at having a wife who became a alcoholic and even tried to turn me away from my religion". Poor Beryl of course was dying of cancer and must have relied on alcohol to relive the constant pain she was suffering from. The forthcoming wedding of George Formby and Pat Howson was major headline news in Britain. The wedding was originally set to take place in May 1961 but was later brought forward to the March. Two tickets were booked for a honeymoon cruise to the West Indies and a house was selected at Lea near Preston. George though, had never really fully recovered from his heart attack at the time of "Zip Goes A Million" in 1951. He had to take pills every day of his life and he had put on quite a lot of weight. Eight days after the engagement announcement, George complained of stomach pains whilst enjoying a candle-lit dinner with Pat. A doctor was summoned and George was taken to St. Joseph's Roman Catholic hospital at Penwortham. On his first day in hospital, Pat visited him four times although all visitors except close relatives were banned from the bed side. George did however make good progress with his recovery and was eventually allowed out of bed for a short while. His condition was regarded as "satisfactory". On March 6th 1961, Pat was at George's bedside. They were chatting about their wedding plans and holding hands when Pat noticed a change in his condition. Immediately the doctors and nurses were called but to no avail, George died within a few minutes. Pat's story doesn't end there though. George Formby had changed his will, leaving almost his entire estate to her. George's family contested the will and eventually modest payments were made to George's mother. The money though didn't really do Pat much good as there were many legal wranglings and much of the wealth was eaten up in legal costs. Sadly, on November 22 1971, Pat Howson died of cancer, she was 46 years old. Before her death, she had made sure that all future royalties from George's records would be donated to charity.