A recent evening saw us at Blackpool Football Club for the second time in 25 years – this time not to a match but the Mayor’s charity ball.
I’m an armchair supporter of the Seasiders but my last appearance was with a mate who sponsored a match.
We had sat in the North Stand and were invited into the boardroom.
It was run-down and our refreshments were an urn of tea and plate of digestives. However, I got a kick from using the same conveniences as Sir Stan and Monty had.
Our latest visit was different, with me in tuxedo and She Who Knows in ball gown. We enjoyed a six-course meal at a bright function room overlooking the ground and, in place of where I’d sat before, a new Armfield stand.
What’s more, Jimmy himself was on the next table to us – and spry and genial as ever. It reminded me of when he chaired our journalists’ union meetings, pipe in hand, round the corner where the old Mecca had been. (Jim wrote a column for the Express.)
Like the football club, our resort town is changing and mostly for the better. Alongside me at the ball was former MP and new chairman of Blackpool Civic Trust Joan Humble. Our heritage is safe in her hands.
In the colourful ballroom there were many mayors from neighbouring towns and, like our own leading citizen, most were females. No stuffiness nowadays, nor men-only power-broking over brandies; in fact, some even took to the dance floor.
Around midnight we made our farewells with a fresh conviction that the future looks bright for our rejuvenated resort. It was also gratifying to learn the evening raised lots of cash for local charities.
The only sad note came from former mayor Robert Wynne. Sadly, his father Edmund had died the day before. The grand old chap had also been a stalwart of Blackpool – and a snappy dancer!
Our town’s motto is ‘Progress’ and that night at Bloomfield Road convinced me we were achieving it. All that’s needed now for a winning season is . . . sunshine.
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