A tremendous success! I have said it many times but it is worth repeating, the March 2014 Blackpool convention was a tremendous success and probably achieved the highest attendance on Saturday 15 March in the Society’s history with standing room only in the Lancastrian Suite which is the largest room within the Imperial Hotel complex. I know that some ukulele clubs don’t regard George Formby with much importance – but where else could you go with your ukulele-banjo and play in front of between 400 and 500 people in the theatre atmosphere with stage lighting and all that a theatre performance demands? And all for a annual membership fee of £20 and that includes four top quality magazines within the GFS year. Without a doubt the GFS must be the best value of any ukulele group within the UK. Admittedly, the GFS audience is very forgiving but they are also used to the highest of standards from our playing members and that standard was maintained throughout this highly successful weekend. Talent From the start of Saturday lunchtime to the close late on Sunday evening it was a procession of highly talented individuals, most of them with a genuine love of George Formby. Even the Saturday evening cinema was quite full for a 55 minute version of “Songs From The Films” which was well received going by the evidence that the following day, the GFS shop sold out of this very popular double-dvd. Andy Smith Memorable moments were many, but none more so than when GFS President Gerry Mawdsley took to the stage on Saturday evening to award a lifetime membership to Police Sergeant Andy Smith who just happened to be on the scene in a Manchester shopping centre when GFS member Glyn Mitchell collapsed and was judged to be clinically dead before Andy got to work on him and his quick thinking and expertise in first aid saved Glynn’s life. What a scene it was when Glyn embraced Andy on the stage to thunderous applause from a capacity Lancastrian Suite audience when they finally met and Glynn could thank Andy personally in front of the GFS members. Andy’s wife Lynn, was also a welcome guest and was presented with a bouquet of flowers by GFS Assistant Treasurer Caroline Stewart. Good performances Some great performances took place over the weekend, one in particular was Cathy Darlington, who as well as performing, also took one of the compere roles and did a thoroughly professional job. Peter Moss returned once again to prove that GFS members can not only play Formby like no one else, but can also beat the best at playing standard ukulele tunes. Steve Helme and Alan Yates also made a very good contribution when they took to the stage together. Alan also is a wizard of the instrument and closed the Sunday night show with a demonstration of ukulele-banjo dexterity plus a Formby favourite in Grandad's Flanelette Nightshirt. Sunday evening Sunday evening is always a nice relaxed session, usually only backing tracks are available but keyboard player Dean Spencer was with us this weekend and allowed us to enjoy the full band for the Sunday evening concert. Dean is also one of those players that you wouldn't want to miss when he is doing Formby items. Regular comperes Jon Baddeley, John Walley, Alan Kershaw and Gerry Mawdsley were joined by young Cameron Aitken who did a great job in his first compering role. Unsung heroes It is virtually impossible to name and to thank all the people who did something to make this weekend the success that it was - and many of those people never even mounted the stage to perform. So let me say here to all who did anything to contribute, a massive thank you on behalf of all those who attended, the work you do is very much appreciated by all.
MARCH 2014
PC Andy Smith presented with award