I have the greatest of
pleasure in constructing
this page, although it is
over 40 years since the
untimely death of George
Formby we can boast of
the closest of connections
with the Formby family
through the friendship of
George's younger brother
Ted has been associated
with the Society since he
was approached some
years ago when the
permission to authorise
some restoration work to
the Formby monument in
From this contact first
been made, a warm
developed and Ted and
his wife Win are usually
to be found at the
Blackpool conventions at
the Winter Gardens.
Always a very
approachable man, Ted
has lived a extremely
interesting life himself
although he has never
appeared on stage
(unlike his sisters and
brothers who all 'trod the
boards' in some way or
As a young man Ted
worked within the
for a company involved in
booking artists. He soon
made contact therefore,
with all the stars of the
30's and 40's including all
the major singers and
band leaders of the era.
Ted is now in his eighties
but is quite fit and is a
pleasure to be with.
When you are near to Ted
you definitely get the
sense of George Formby.
Ted is the same height and weight and shares the same Formby profile
and also, he has George's clear blue eyes.
It is always a pleasure to see him at the Blackpool conventions and to
spend a little time in his company - one of nature's gentlemen.
One of nature’s
A round of applause goes up in the Savoy Hotel on Blackpool
The big hand is for the most popular man in the conference room.-
Ted Formby, the former milkman who vowed 60 years ago that he
would never live in his brother's shadow.
And he didn't. Until five years ago that is, when he was persuaded to
leave his home near Oxford to attend one of the meetings of his
brother's world-wide appreciation society.
Now 83-year old Ted admits he has become a bit of a star himself.
"Well not exactly a star. But I sign a lot of autographs. I hope George
would have been proud of me, I certainly am of him.
During the break in the extravaganza of nostalgic ukulele playing
Ted, his wife Win by his side said, "Over the years all sorts of stories
have been told about George and Beryl, many rubbish. That's what
happens when you're a really big star, people get jealous."
Ted is the special guest at the 40th anniversary of the appreciation
society, formed in 1961, the year George died aged 56. "He would
have been 96 now", muses Ted, 14 years younger than his brother.
"In fact, he always loved Wigan and I was the only one of the seven
children not born there in Westminster Street near the old Central
Park". "He trained as a jockey, but when my famous father died, my
mother was distraught and insisted George follow in his footsteps to
keep the show business part of the name alive.
"Eliza was a very strong woman. She had to be, being left with all us
kids at just 39. When being a comic named George Hoy Booth
(mother's maiden names) didn't work, she hatched a new plan - to
make him the new George Formby. It worked".
At 14 Ted followed George to London and became a theatrical agent,
but the Second World War intervened and things were very different
when fighting finished. While George was topping the bill and earning
a fortune, Ted suffered ill health and after giving up a cinema
manager's job he worked out of doors on the land and then became a
All the while he never lost touch with George.
Ted when on, "I never told people I was George's brother. I wanted
people to like me for myself. But I watched George become a great
star. "His wife Beryl was his great strength. Yes, she was branded a
bully, but every great man needs a woman to shield him. It was the
same with mum and dad."
"And George wasn't gormless. He was a lovely chap who entertained
millions and never became big-headed.
"But ill health took its toll and George began to fall from his top rank
status. His first heart attack was at 50 - and it taught me a lesson, I
Beryl died of cancer on Christmas Day 1960 and George was left
totally adrift. Speaking of his brother's sudden engagement to a
garage owners daughter just weeks later Ted said, "I'll be honest. I
never understood why he did it and I don't think the marriage would
have come off.
"In hospital and days before he died, he told mother that he had
been carried off on a wave of publicity and there was no going back.
"Mother said he sounded like a little boy talking. George told her that
he didn't think the engagement would come to anything".
And so Ted, with his legend of a brother - convinced that the name
of George Formby will live for many years. A tribute to Ted came from
Dennis Taylor, president of the appreciation society. "We first met
when he gave his permission to improve George's grave which had
become a bit tatty. We knew he never traded on his brother's name.
Now he is an important part of our organisation. "I suppose he's
become a bit of a star in his own right."
This article is reproduced with the kind permission of author,