Steve’s golden days with his Uncle George

George Formby speaking at the crowning of the May Queen in Hornsea in 1939. The little boy (circled) picking his nose is Steve King. Steve's grandmother is also circled, sitting next to Beryl Formby
George Formby speaking at the crowning of the May Queen in Hornsea in 1939. The little boy (circled) picking his nose is Steve King. Steve's grandmother is also circled, sitting next to Beryl Formby
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Who is that little boy, sat on the floor, picking his nose while legendary performer George Formby is busy at the microphone, less than a yard away, back in 1939?

It is none other than Steve King, then aged six, whose stage act impersonating Al Jolson has made him many fans across the UK over the years.

Steve was prompted to share the photograph that hangs on the wall of his Norbreck home, after memories were rekindled by pictures of George Formby in The Gazette’s Friday supplement series Lost Archives.

He says: “My mother was a dancer and a great friend of Beryl Formby, who was one of the Ingham Sisters dance act.

“Long after my mother gave up dancing she and my family kept in touch and George and Beryl would often stay with us whenever they visited Hull, my home town.”

Steve says: “I had to call them auntie and uncle. I have a photograph of myself, aged six, when Uncle George took us to the crowning of the May Queen in Hornsea. This was my first time of meeting them and I was not aware how famous he was at that age, however I did when they came to stay with us for two weeks in 1943.”

Steve explains: “I had been evacuated to a village called Melbourne in the East Riding and I had now returned home and during that time my Uncle Billy who was an engine driver took Uncle George on the footplate of his engine to Withernsea and he stayed the full shift returning home with grime all over his face and wearing a fireman’s hat.

“He was beaming all over his face, which was unusual as he did not smile much away from the public. Auntie Beryl was none too pleased as there had been an air raid and she was concerned something might have happened to him.

“After the war we were invited to spend a couple of days with them in their house on Mains Lane, Singleton. It was seeing the photograph of George and Beryl in the grounds of Beryldene that stirred up those memories.

“I know we went by train, but can’t recall pulling in to Blackpool. George picked us up in his car, but whether it was Poulton or Fleetwood, I cannot remember. I do know I was 11 at the time, says Steve, who adds: “I have remained friends with all the Formby family ever since and when I became an entertainer I would stay with his brothers at Birmingham and Oxford, and his sister Mary in Great Yarmouth, where my wife and I spent our honeymoon.

“I would stay with Mary’s daughter and her husband after her mother died and still keep in touch, as I do with Teddy Formby’s wife, Win.

“Thank you for bringing such wonderful memories back to life.”

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