September 2020 and still the country (and the rest of the world) is in COVID-19 lock-down so once again, no activity in Blackpool with regard to conventions in the Imperial Hotel.Instead of a convention report, we will have a look back through the image archives of Gill Walley and Peter Pollard at what we were doing over the last twenty years.
ALAN KERSHAW’S FINAL PERFORMANCE
My nicest memories all involve either myself and Kathryn or close friends, let's start with a look back to September 2015. and the performance of a song that had nothing to do with George Formby! Who of those in attendance, could forget Alan Kershaw performing for the last time, "The Auld Triangle" accompanied by his many lady friends?Alan was so seriously ill that he had to be brought to the stage in a wheel-chair but once there, he gave an unforgettable performance and received a standing ovation from the whole room, something rarely seen at a GFS convention. I doubt that there was a dry eye in the house as Alan left the stage. Thankfully I had my video camera with me and the clip is available on our GFS YouTube page.
A GOLDEN MEMBER
2011 and we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of The George Formby Society. One member has stood out for all those fifty years, the one and only John Walley who had been an honorary member for many years but the GFS committee felt that in this very special year we should find something else to award to John. At the 2011 meeting he was presented with a unique Golden Jubilee award certificate, but further than that, he also switched on the Blackpool Illuminations from outside the Imperial Hotel. A lovely memory for a smashing chap who has given his all to the GFS - and is still doing so!
At September 2009 meeting on Saturday evening I had just finished my second song on the stage of the Pavilion Theatre within the Winter Gardens. I was just about to leave the stage when I noticed GFS President, Gerry Mawdsley hovering very close to me. To my delight and total surprise, before I left the stage he proceeded to bestow on me, an honorary membership. I have always held the GFS close to my heart since the first day I had joined in 1991 so to receive this award from Gerry was obviously the highlight of my life within our Society.It was also significant in that this was the last meeting within the Winter Gardens before we made the return to the Imperial Hotel.
MEMORABLE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETINGS
I could go on, the September meeting is when we elect a new committee to take us forward for the next year, this is something that we have obviously had to forego this year. I was involved with the committee for twenty-one years which I have never considered a hardship or a chore. Kathryn was by my side on the committee for sixteen years as well and we have always felt privileged to be a part of such a wonderful group of people. In September 2017 we retired from the committee and were presented with awards by President Gerry, his wife Vivien and Chairperson Caroline Stewart - another unforgettable moment for us to cherish.I sincerely hope that we can all be back together in Blackpool in the not too distant future. We all need our four conventions each year so badly but I pray that it will not be too far away when we can all meet again in safety, to celebrate all that is best about being a member of The George Formby Society.Peter Pollard - September 2020