Flicking the switch goes Formby-style!

Neil Forshaw
Neil Forshaw
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TURNED on nice again – haven’t they?

For members of the George Formby Society will celebrate their golden jubilee by performing their own Illuminations Switch-On on the weekend of September 17 in memory of their ukelele-wielding hero.

Hundreds of members from the society are expected to visit the town to remember the world-famous showman, who performed the Switch-On honours himself in 1953.

The society meets four times a year at the Imperial Hotel on North Promenade, however, this meeting of friends holds an extra special meaning.

A selected member from the club will be given the honour of turning on the Illuminations, while a big screen will be erected in Gynn Square showing a selection of films by the former Blackpool resident.

Neil Forshaw, vice chairman of the society, from Newton-le-Willows, said: “Members come from all over the country and all over the world to come to the conventions. It’s great to get together and celebrate his life and career.

“We are certainly looking forward to it and coming to Blackpool for the weekend.”

The society was formed in September 1961 and Mr Forshaw says the proceedings of the weekends have remained the same since the very first one.

Members begin the weekend with a “thrash”.

Ukelele players young and old pay tribute to Mr Formby’s classic songs including When I’m Cleaning Windows and Bless ‘Em All.

Mr Forshaw added: “George Formby brought a lot of fun into people’s lives and he still does.

“There is quite a range of ages in the society – from five upwards – and he means something different to everyone.

“There’s a lot of memories and it’s very special to get together.

The club has in excess of 1,000 members, however, 500 are expected to turn up for the Switch-On event

The society was formed in the Imperial Hotel, but for many years reunions for the members took place in the Winter Gardens, only for them to return to their original home two-years-ago.

Fiona Whitworth, events manager at the Imperial Hotel, said: “It’s a big event for the hotel and it’s always well-received by other guests in the hotel at the time.

“We will be putting on a drinks reception for the long-standing members and it’s very exciting for the hotel.

“The atmosphere is wonderful and the hotel is always bustling during the weekend.

“We have guests playing ukeleles all over the place and the staff love it.”