George Formby fans flock to Blackpool

0
Have your say

Hundreds of George Formby fans descended on Blackpool this weekend to celebrate the life and music of the Lancashire legend.

Behind the squeaky clean windows of the Imperial Hotel on the Promenade, members of The George Formby Society met to mark 50 years since the entertainer’s death.

George Formby

George Formby

And they certainly did George proud with men, women, boys and girls taking to the stage with their ukuleles to pay homage to the talented musician (inset) whose legacy continues to bring laughs.

Although he was Wigan born and bred, the star, who died aged 56, in 1961 spent seven summer seasons in Blackpool.

He set up home on the Fylde coast, in Little Singleton and St Annes.

Neil Forshaw, vice-chairman of The George Formby Society, said: “It was a very special weekend because on Sunday it was 50 years since George passed away. Since that day the society has grown in strength. We have more than 1,000 members worldwide.

The George Formby Society held its annual convention at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool.'A group playing session on stage.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'5-3-2011

The George Formby Society held its annual convention at the Imperial Hotel in Blackpool.'A group playing session on stage. PIC BY ROB LOCK'5-3-2011

“Hundreds of people came to Blackpool to show their respect to him. People came from all over the UK and Spain, Australia, Canada and the Isle of Man.”

For the first time, the society arranged a chron-ological concert featuring all the songs from his films, from Chinese Laundry Blues to Baby Baby.

Mr Forshaw performed Baby Baby with Vivien Mawdsley, from Wigan, who said: “George’s personality came across as a happy chap, who had lots of fun in him.

“We like his music, we like his fun and everyone smiles when they sing his songs. That’s what it’s all about.”

Martin Harrison, 33, from Bacup, started learning to play the ukulele at the age of 10, after seeing some of George’s films.

He said: “He was the comedian who couldn’t tell jokes and an actor who couldn’t act. But when he got on stage he was magic, that’s why he has endured all these years. He was a genius.”

Ukulele lessons were offered to fans, and Sunday mass was dedicated to George at churches across the Fylde coast.