Reunion hit all the right notes

The Singing Scholars: Graham Ashfield, Noel McKnight, Barry Horton, Bill Gillespie and Malcom Carmichael.
The Singing Scholars: Graham Ashfield, Noel McKnight, Barry Horton, Bill Gillespie and Malcom Carmichael.
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Memory Lane helped reunite members of one of the first ever boybands who performed around the country almost six decades ago.

An article published last year on The Francis Langford’s Singing Scholars appealed for bandmates to get in touch for a special event.

Some of the Scholars with dancers from the show.

Some of the Scholars with dancers from the show.

The singers played many theatres in the UK, either topping the bill or supporting other acts and appeared for several summer seasons in Blackpool. They performed on the same bill as Frank Randle, Mike and Bernie Winters, and Albert Modley.

Formed in 1954, by Welshman Francis Langford, the Scholars were the forerunners to modern boybands like One Direction and Union J.

Member Malcolm Carmichael had tried several times to track down his former bandmates and turned to Memory Lane for help. Following the appeal, several Scholars got in touch and they chose Blackpool as the venue for their reunion weekend. They enjoyed a get together at the Ruskin Hotel.

Malcolm said: “The whole weekend went extremely well and all who attended have phoned or emailed to say how much they enjoyed meeting up again and to thank me for organising the event. It will be 60 years next year since some of us last met.

Members Barry Horton (centre) and Graham Ashfield show Maureen Pitchford (whose husband was in the group) a photo album.

Members Barry Horton (centre) and Graham Ashfield show Maureen Pitchford (whose husband was in the group) a photo album.

“Even some of the residents at the hotel were interested in chatting to us when they found out what was going on and were very friendly, making it a very special evening for all of us.

“On the Sunday, we had a walk around Blackpool taking in the Comedy Carpet on the seafront and visited the Winter Gardens and Opera House – where we did a season in the ‘50s. We went to see the magnificent new life size statue of Morecambe and Wise in the foyer. I had the pleasure of working in my last pantomime with Eric and Ernie, at the Liverpool Empire in the early 60s after leaving the Scholars to go out as a solo performer.

“The lads have asked me to make it an annual or by-annual get together – they enjoyed it so much.”

And Noel McKnight, former bandmate, added: “It brought back great memories and we are all sincerely grateful to Malcolm for making it all come together. We send our best regards to Blackpool fellow Alf Kelly, who was unable to attend.”

Original member Rod Ford's son and wife Mark and Maureen Pitchford with photos of him when in the group.

Original member Rod Ford's son and wife Mark and Maureen Pitchford with photos of him when in the group.