George Formby Society celebrates diamond anniversary of keeping Wigan entertainer's memory alive

An organisation dedicated to the life and work of Wigan’s most famous entertainer has thrown a party to celebrate its diamond jubilee.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 10:50 am
Blackpool Mayor Coun Amy Cross (left) is presented with a commemorative George Formby tea towel

The George Formby Society was established in 1961 - the same year that the banjolele-strumming comic actor and musician died and it has been keeping his memory alive ever since.

Its party was held in Blackpool with a visit to its convention in the Imperial Hotel by the town’s mayor, Coun Amy Cross.

The mayor told the assembled members how closely Formby was associated with the resort and how delighted she was that the society was still going strong and still returning to Blackpool for its conventions.

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She presented honorary GFS memberships to the society’s musical director Matthew Richards and to long-standing member and band drummer Dale Norman, staying for some time to enjoy the concert and talk to various members, including John Walley, who had been present at the founding meeting of the society back in 1961, also at the Imperial Hotel. She was presented with a George Formby commemorative tea-towel by chairman Steve Langford.

In 2018, members of the society, accompanied by Ed Balls, Frank Skinner and Harry Hill, played Formby’s famous song When I’m Cleaning Windows at the Royal Albert Hall for the Queen’s 92nd birthday concert.

Her Majesty is known to be a big fan of Formby, who performed regularly for the Royal Family and the young Princess Elizabeth during the Second World War.

Deprived of the chance to meet during the pandemic, GFS members gathered online to play Formby’s music together using Zoom, meeting every night for over 400 consecutive sessions.

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