25 years old
The GFS website special birthday

GFS WEBSITE – 25 YEARS

I am staggered to think that this year the GFS website is twenty-five years old! Set up initially to avoid the problems I faced in the 1970s, trying unsuccessfully to find and join The George Formby Society. There must be many stories of potential members missing out on this exclusive group simply because in the period up to 1996, there was no national source to connect to the GFS. In 1991 of course the Society celebrated the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Society and this fact was reported in national newspapers in 1990 and was how I finally found my way to the GFS door.

THE WARRINGTON EXHIBITION

The Warrington Exhibition was a wonderful experience for me and many thousands of other visitors and also allowed the Society to double its membership in the space of three months of the event being held. I clearly remember receiving my first two Vellum magazines (Winter 1991 and Spring 1992) and just cancelling my morning and sitting down to read every page of my first two issues. Warrington though was only a temporary source of entry, having run from June to September 1991, the exhibition closed and things returned to a closed group where it was basically word-of-mouth if you were lucky enough to join. As well as having a great interest in George Formby, I was always interested in technology, especially cameras and computers. In the early 1990s, the internet was there but not that well known, but around 1993 I was surfing along with many other people although it was quite a different experience from what people can view today.

I WORK ON THE GFS DATABASE

By 1996 I was Assistant Secretary of the GFS and the job I had was to reorganise the data that managed the membership of the Society and also to then run the database as Subscription Secretary. This reminded me once again of the difficulties I and others had faced in earlier days of trying to enrol. I thought that if I could just put a page with some contact details on the internet it would be a great help to prospective members and would surely be of assistance to anyone searching for information about the Society or George Formby.

THREE PAGES

The first site contained three pages, a photo of George, a short history of his life and contact addresses for anyone who might want to join. Not much but a start. The first website address was http://saqnet.co.uk/users/formbysociety but don’t bother looking for it because there is no trace.

TELETEXT AND PAYPAL

In 1998 we had a new web address, http://freespace.virgin.net/peter.pollard/ and we had a nice bit of free publicity when BBC TV posted details of the website and how to get in touch on their Teletext service. In those days there was no Google and no PayPal. I would receive currency in an envelope from countries in various parts of the world which it was hoped would be enough to cover the subscription but when I visited the bank, the charges for overseas cash were quite expensive and much of the subscription would be lost. Around the year 2001, I was made aware of PayPal and that is when the GFS really did benefit and the membership increased accordingly.

OUR DOMAIN NAME

In 1999 another development was that our domain name changed for the final time when I decided on, www.georgeformby.co.uk and that is where we are to be found to this day.

RECOGNITION

In March 2000 we were featured in a nationally available internet magazine called “The Net” when a journalist awarded our site five stars as the best comedy site in that month's issue. I was actually in the Lake District and had called into a newsagent just looking for a magazine to buy and whilst going through one particular magazine I discovered the entry. I was overjoyed even though they had a slight criticism as there was no audio available to enjoy. From then onwards, we got audio and then video clips on-site and I have continually tried to keep developing the site since then.

THE WORLD OUTSIDE

I am proud that the site has helped the GFS to attract new members and that it is the first point of contact with the world outside the Society. One magical contact that came to me first was of course the wonderful Royal Albert Hall concert in April 2018. We are now in the year 2021 and all a prospective member or anyone with the slightest interest in our hero has to do is to simply type the name George Formby into an internet web browser and the GFS is available instantly for people to enjoy and to hopefully join. When I started the website in 1996 I never expected that the site would develop as it has. I could not have done it without the help of my great friend, Peter Lee, who has given me assistance and invaluable advice over the last twenty five years. Thank you Peter.

THE WEBSITE IN 2004

THE WEBSITE IN 1998

PP 29 April 2021

GFS WEBSITE – 25 YEARS

I am staggered to think that this year the GFS website is twenty-five years old! Set up initially to avoid the problems I faced in the 1970s, trying unsuccessfully to find and join The George Formby Society. There must be many stories of potential members missing out on this exclusive group simply because in the period up to 1996, there was no national source to connect to the GFS. In 1991 of course the Society celebrated the 30th anniversary of the birth of the Society and this fact was reported in national newspapers in 1990 and was how I finally found my way to the GFS door.

THE WARRINGTON EXHIBITION

The Warrington Exhibition was a wonderful experience for me and many thousands of other visitors and also allowed the Society to double its membership in the space of three months of the event being held. I clearly remember receiving my first two Vellum magazines (Winter 1991 and Spring 1992) and just cancelling my morning and sitting down to read every page of my first two issues. Warrington though was only a temporary source of entry, having run from June to September 1991, the exhibition closed and things returned to a closed group where it was basically word-of-mouth if you were lucky enough to join. As well as having a great interest in George Formby, I was always interested in technology, especially cameras and computers. In the early 1990s, the internet was there but not that well known, but around 1993 I was surfing along with many other people although it was quite a different experience from what people can view today.

I WORK ON THE GFS DATABASE

By 1996 I was Assistant Secretary of the GFS and the job I had was to reorganise the data that managed the membership of the Society and also to then run the database as Subscription Secretary. This reminded me once again of the difficulties I and others had faced in earlier days of trying to enrol. I thought that if I could just put a page with some contact details on the internet it would be a great help to prospective members and would surely be of assistance to anyone searching for information about the Society or George Formby.

THREE PAGES

The first site contained three pages, a photo of George, a short history of his life and contact addresses for anyone who might want to join. Not much but a start. The first website address was http://saqnet.co.uk/users/formbysociety but don’t bother looking for it because there is no trace.

TELETEXT AND PAYPAL

In 1998 we had a new web address, http://freespace.virgin.net/peter.pollard/ and we had a nice bit of free publicity when BBC TV posted details of the website and how to get in touch on their Teletext service. In those days there was no Google and no PayPal. I would receive currency in an envelope from countries in various parts of the world which it was hoped would be enough to cover the subscription but when I visited the bank, the charges for overseas cash were quite expensive and much of the subscription would be lost. Around the year 2001, I was made aware of PayPal and that is when the GFS really did benefit and the membership increased accordingly.

OUR DOMAIN NAME

In 1999 another development was that our domain name changed for the final time when I decided on, www.georgeformby.co.uk and that is where we are to be found to this day.

RECOGNITION

In March 2000 we were featured in a nationally available internet magazine called “The Net” when a journalist awarded our site five stars as the best comedy site in that month's issue. I was actually in the Lake District and had called into a newsagent just looking for a magazine to buy and whilst going through one particular magazine I discovered the entry. I was overjoyed even though they had a slight criticism as there was no audio available to enjoy. From then onwards, we got audio and then video clips on-site and I have continually tried to keep developing the site since then.

THE WORLD OUTSIDE

I am proud that the site has helped the GFS to attract new members and that it is the first point of contact with the world outside the Society. One magical contact that came to me first was of course the wonderful Royal Albert Hall concert in April 2018. We are now in the year 2021 and all a prospective member or anyone with the slightest interest in our hero has to do is to simply type the name George Formby into an internet web browser and the GFS is available instantly for people to enjoy and to hopefully join. When I started the website in 1996 I never expected that the site would develop as it has. I could not have done it without the help of my great friend, Peter Lee, who has given me assistance and invaluable advice over the last twenty five years. Thank you Peter.
25 years old
The GFS website special birthday
1996 - 2021
PP 29 April 2021
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