george cheetham
The man who played the bones…
When I joined the George Formby Society in the summer of 1991 and attended my first conventions, there was always a chap on stage who played the bones! He was part of the band at that time and would never miss a convention and was always there, on stage. Other personal in the band might change now and again but George was always there with his bones. In the 1980s George was one of the MC’s at the Blackpool meetings. George also attended the local branches, Sale and Warrington. In fact in 1991 George was made president of the Sale branch. He also now and again, he would accompany other friends and come over the border to visit the Yorkshire Ukulele Circle. I only knew George from visits to Blackpool and the local gatherings but always found him to be the friendliest of people and totally enthusiastic about George Formby. George of course was one of the founder members and even attended the auction at Beryldene - I wonder if he bought anything? Then all of a sudden he stopped coming. to Blackpool It turned out that his health was not good and I understand that he was living in sheltered accommodation. Then around 1999 George’s health deteriorated and he succumbed to the vagaries of Alzheimer's disease I am saddened to inform you all that our old friend George Cheetham passed away on Thursday June 2nd 2011. George was a honorary member of the GFS and was very proud of that fact. George was a real character and such a likable man. On behalf of everyone in the GFS I extend our condolences to George's family.

Dickie Speake writes…

I was saddened to learn of the death of Founder and Honorary member George Cheetham just two months short of his 90th birthday. To those who knew him George was a most endearing character and a Formby fan through and through. I met George more than 40 years ago and during the 1970s we worked the clubs in and around Manchester as a double act. Strange as it may seem we were quite successful. The audiences in those days were not so particular! George was always an outgoing person and would play his uke (or bones or spoons) anywhere, be it on a stage or in a fish and chip shop to anyone who would listen (even if they didn't want to! ). Once George even 'borrowed' George Formby's Baby Gibson from late president Bill Logan and took it to the top of Blackpool Tower to serenade the visitors. The uke was returned unharmed before Bill or anyone else noticed its absence! Although George faced some difficult periods throughout his life he always bounced back just like his hero's film character and was never happier than when he was surrounded by his many friends at the GFS. We offer our condolences to George's family. Sleep Well George. Dickie Speake