no limit 80th
GFS members travel to the Isle of Man
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the making of the film "No Limit", members of the Society made the trip to the Isle of Man to enjoy the scenes, discover some of the film locations, entertain the islanders - and just to enjoy a few days on the Island. GFS member Lesley Fowkes provides the words.

THEY'RE OFF...

On the 24th July we descended on Douglas, ISLE OF MAN from all corners…  a group of GFS members determined to spend the weekend celebrating the 80th anniversary of the making of George’s film “No Limit” in some style. “No Limit” was George’s first film after joining Associated Talking Pictures, and featured George as a young motor-cyclist, riding in and (of course) winning the TT Race. The weekend itinerary was packed… and thanks to our own Isle of Man member Nick Saunders, who did a lot of organising for us, we wasted no time in getting it off to a good start in the first local hostelry, the Bath and Bottle, where we were given the use of a very nice room, just the right size for the group to have a bit of a jam and the first showing, just for ourselves, of the film. This was to familiarise us with the locations we would be seeing the next day.

AROUND THE TT COURSE...

Saturday brought glorious sunshine and the fun really started. First on the agenda was a ride around the TT Race course, 37 miles of main road around the island. We met up and made our way to the first important point, the Grandstand, the start and finishing point of the TT RACES. It was exciting to see this and recognise it from the film, especially to think of George hauling himself, literally exhausted after fourteen takes of the scene, over the finishing line… and here we all played our first rendition of the weekend of the Formby classic song, TT Races … what else! By the end of the weekend we’d played it so many times … And off we went, around the TT course, some of us on four wheels, some on two – motorised, naturally… stopping off to see various memorable locations from the film… the place where George crashes through a door, the place where someone goes through a hedge, the place where he comes a cropper with another rider… Caroline Stewart came dressed for the occasion in complete motorbike leathers and went all the way round the course riding pillion, hanging on tightly to John Taylor! Kate Howard had her first taste of pillion riding for a few miles with Paul Conroy, and I, most unexpectedly, had mine, a few miles on the back of Gerry Mawdsley’s motorbike. A bit of excitement not to be missed on the TT course, though I won’t be taking it up in my own right! The regular pillion riders, Vivien Mawdsley and Paul’s daughter Rosie enjoyed touring the rest of the course knowing they’d given us two biker first-timers quite a thrill with the loan of their helmets and jackets!

VIEWING NO LIMIT...

No time to linger too long anywhere… the MANX MUSEUM in Douglas has its own film theatre and we had to be there in the afternoon to give a concert and show the film, this time for the public. And the public were very appreciative, especially as ANDY EASTWOOD was there to give them a top- notch delivery of George’s songs. One by one the rest of the players went up to do their bit – we were grateful for the sandwiches provided for our refreshment at half time, and then we could relax as the film was shown. Did one or two of us drop off on the front row? I couldn’t possibly say…. Evening, and we all headed off to the Manx Legion, where we were all made most welcome. We were the first “Act”… after bingo. One song each from individual players, and TT races and Lamppost from the lot of us… it was truly heart-warming when folk told us how much they’d enjoyed it afterwards. I don’t think any of us needed rocking to sleep that night.

SUNDAY - AND ITS RAINING...

Sunday dawned pouring with rain… and didn’t stop. There’s a great statue of George in a little square in Douglas, and we met there in the rain after breakfast for the Manx newspapers and the TV, no less. In the film, George as George Shuttleworth has built a motorbike himself, which he calls the Shuttleworth Snap. Enthusiasts on the Isle of Man have made a replica, and they brought it to the statue for us and for the interviews. What a joy! Well, we were in the papers and even on TV on BBC Look North… but I have to say the pleasure was equalled by the Salvation Army, whose citadel was next to the statue and who had just had their Sunday service… they opened their doors to us, all bedraggled as we were, and gave us tea and biscuits. We were so grateful. Gradually we dried out and thawed out, and we gave them an impromptu concert. TT Races. How did you guess. And thence into the hostelry next door, The Rover’s Return, for a little Isle of Man ale. Sunday afternoon, and an interview had been arranged on MANX RADIO. There was only room for six in the studio, but the rest of us could sit in the waiting room and listen. It was a great interview, not rushed, the questions were good, and everyone came over really well. It felt good to be listening to that. And still it rained. No wonder that little gem of an island is so green. In the evening we headed for yet another local hostelry, the Railway. We watched the rain streaming down the windows and bouncing off the pavements and had a sing-song to end all sing-songs… everything from Formby to the Beatles and back again. I don’t think the locals knew what had hit them… all those banjo- ukes…

FINAL VISIT TO PORT ERIN

And so ended the organised part of the trip. On the Monday, some went home but most of stayed and explored that green gem of an island further. It has a magic. And for me, the best magic that day was this… two cars on the road from Peel to Port Erin, over green, undulating hills with a view right down to the sea. We stop, to gaze and listen to the silence. “Where are the ukes? I want to hear ukes…” says one… and out come the ukes, and a little taste of the hard stuff for those not driving… a solo Formby song, then “Look….!” and “Manannan’s cloak”, the mist, is coming down  to rest around us. It is magic. What is the nature of this magic… is it the Isle of Man? Is it the friendships? Is it the George Formby Society? Whatever it is, that weekend it was, ultimately, down to George, or none of us would have been there. It was also down to the warmth of the welcome we received, all the people who urged us all to go again…. and it was down to the people who made it happen. Thanks to Nick Saunders, to Caroline Stewart for all her hard work and for organising those stupendous commemorative polo shirts,  and to everyone there who made that whole weekend an absolute blast. Lesley Fowkes July 2015

VIDEO MEMORIES OF THE TRIP

No limit 80th
GFS members traval to the Isle of Man
To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the making of the film "No Limit", members of the Society made the trip to the Isle of Man to enjoy the scenes, discover some of the film locations, entertain the islanders - and just to enjoy a few days on the Island. GFS member Lesley Fowkes provides the words.

THEY'RE OFF...

On the 24th July we descended on Douglas, ISLE OF MAN from all corners…  a group of GFS members determined to spend the weekend celebrating the 80th anniversary of the making of George’s film “No Limit” in some style. “No Limit” was George’s first film after joining Associated Talking Pictures, and featured George as a young motor-cyclist, riding in and (of course) winning the TT Race. The weekend itinerary was packed… and thanks to our own Isle of Man member Nick Saunders, who did a lot of organising for us, we wasted no time in getting it off to a good start in the first local hostelry, the Bath and Bottle, where we were given the use of a very nice room, just the right size for the group to have a bit of a jam and the first showing, just for ourselves, of the film. This was to familiarise us with the locations we would be seeing the next day.

AROUND THE TT COURSE...

Saturday brought glorious sunshine and the fun really started. First on the agenda was a ride around the TT Race course, 37 miles of main road around the island. We met up and made our way to the first important point, the Grandstand, the start and finishing point of the TT RACES. It was exciting to see this and recognise it from the film, especially to think of George hauling himself, literally exhausted after fourteen takes of the scene, over the finishing line… and here we all played our first rendition of the weekend of the Formby classic song, TT Races … what else! By the end of the weekend we’d played it so many times … And off we went, around the TT course, some of us on four wheels, some on two – motorised, naturally… stopping off to see various memorable locations from the film… the place where George crashes through a door, the place where someone goes through a hedge, the place where he comes a cropper with another rider… Caroline Stewart came dressed for the occasion in complete motorbike leathers and went all the way round the course riding pillion, hanging on tightly to John Taylor! Kate Howard had her first taste of pillion riding for a few miles with Paul Conroy, and I, most unexpectedly, had mine, a few miles on the back of Gerry Mawdsley’s motorbike. A bit of excitement not to be missed on the TT course, though I won’t be taking it up in my own right! The regular pillion riders, Vivien Mawdsley and Paul’s daughter Rosie enjoyed touring the rest of the course knowing they’d given us two biker first-timers quite a thrill with the loan of their helmets and jackets!

VIEWING NO LIMIT...

No time to linger too long anywhere… the MANX MUSEUM in Douglas has its own film theatre and we had to be there in the afternoon to give a concert and show the film, this time for the public. And the public were very appreciative, especially as ANDY EASTWOOD was there to give them a top-notch delivery of George’s songs. One by one the rest of the players went up to do their bit – we were grateful for the sandwiches provided for our refreshment at half time, and then we could relax as the film was shown. Did one or two of us drop off on the front row? I couldn’t possibly say…. Evening, and we all headed off to the Manx Legion, where we were all made most welcome. We were the first “Act”… after bingo. One song each from individual players, and TT races and Lamppost from the lot of us… it was truly heart-warming when folk told us how much they’d enjoyed it afterwards. I don’t think any of us needed rocking to sleep that night.

SUNDAY - AND ITS RAINING...

Sunday dawned pouring with rain… and didn’t stop. There’s a great statue of George in a little square in Douglas, and we met there in the rain after breakfast for the Manx newspapers and the TV, no less. In the film, George as George Shuttleworth has built a motorbike himself, which he calls the Shuttleworth Snap. Enthusiasts on the Isle of Man have made a replica, and they brought it to the statue for us and for the interviews. What a joy! Well, we were in the papers and even on TV on BBC Look North… but I have to say the pleasure was equalled by the Salvation Army, whose citadel was next to the statue and who had just had their Sunday service… they opened their doors to us, all bedraggled as we were, and gave us tea and biscuits. We were so grateful. Gradually we dried out and thawed out, and we gave them an impromptu concert. TT Races. How did you guess. And thence into the hostelry next door, The Rover’s Return, for a little Isle of Man ale. Sunday afternoon, and an interview had been arranged on MANX RADIO. There was only room for six in the studio, but the rest of us could sit in the waiting room and listen. It was a great interview, not rushed, the questions were good, and everyone came over really well. It felt good to be listening to that. And still it rained. No wonder that little gem of an island is so green. In the evening we headed for yet another local hostelry, the Railway. We watched the rain streaming down the windows and bouncing off the pavements and had a sing-song to end all sing-songs… everything from Formby to the Beatles and back again. I don’t think the locals knew what had hit them… all those banjo-ukes…

FINAL VISIT TO PORT ERIN

And so ended the organised part of the trip. On the Monday, some went home but most of stayed and explored that green gem of an island further. It has a magic. And for me, the best magic that day was this… two cars on the road from Peel to Port Erin, over green, undulating hills with a view right down to the sea. We stop, to gaze and listen to the silence. “Where are the ukes? I want to hear ukes…” says one… and out come the ukes, and a little taste of the hard stuff for those not driving… a solo Formby song, then “Look….!” and “Manannan’s cloak”, the mist, is coming down  to rest around us. It is magic. What is the nature of this magic… is it the Isle of Man? Is it the friendships? Is it the George Formby Society? Whatever it is, that weekend it was, ultimately, down to George, or none of us would have been there. It was also down to the warmth of the welcome we received, all the people who urged us all to go again…. and it was down to the people who made it happen. Thanks to Nick Saunders, to Caroline Stewart for all her hard work and for organising those stupendous commemorative polo shirts,  and to everyone there who made that whole weekend an absolute blast. Lesley Fowkes July 2015

VIDEO MEMORIES OF THE TRIP