Lancashire nostalgia in 1979: Tom Finney; Proud Preston, and The Muppets in Blackpool

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1979:

By Naomi Moon
Thursday, 24th September 2020, 11:56 am
Tom Finney holding his Freedom of the Borough silver casket with his wife Elsie
Tom Finney holding his Freedom of the Borough silver casket with his wife Elsie

Town’s top honour is bestowed on Tom

Footballing genius, exemplary businessman, legendary charity supporter, his town’s Number One ambassador, it’s greatest living son.

With such superlatives as these Preston Council finally honoured its world-famed citizen Tom Finney with the Freedom of the Borough - 20 years after his retirement from the soccer field where his wizardry “mesmerised both opponents and spectators alike.”

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A packed council chamber watched in admiration as the town bestowed its rarest distinction - a silver casket and an illuminated scroll - on the former schoolboy who had eminently carried the town’s name across the globe.

Hundreds more, including some of soccer’s greatest names and a squad of former North End colleagues, joined them afterwards for a celebration banquet at the town’s Guild Hall.

Rubbing shoulders with them in a night of rejoicing and nostalgia were fans who had previously only watched him in adulation from the Deepdale terraces.

It was the council’s present leader, Coun. Joe Hood, who moved the resolution to confer the Freedom on “Preston’s greatest living son - known, loved and revered by countless thousands of Prestonians past and present.”

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Look back at a selection of pictures from 1979 here

Always proud - Preston gets into the party mood in the rain

Proud Prestonians lined rain-splashed streets to witness one of the most spectacular moments in the town’s history.

And just as umbrellas were being unfurled all over Fishergate, the rain magically ceased almost as soon as the Festival 800 procession was about to begin.

The Queen’s Lancashire Regiment 4th Volunteer Battalion and the band of the 103rd Light Air Defence Regiment TA marched through the streets to the roar of cheers and applause from the crowd.

All the pomp and pageantry associated with ancient Preston was brought to life again as the stalwart volunteers made their way to the Market Square.

They were displaying their new colours - bestowed on the Regiment by the Queen when she visited in May to unveil the obelisk.

With the sky getting brighter by the minute more and more Saturday shoppers surrounded the Market Square with the colourful buntings above them reminding everyone of Octo-Centenary Week.

The scene was dazzling as the troops lined up on the historic stones and prepared themselves for the arrival of the civic dignitaries and the Regalia party.

Welcome to The Muppet Show!

It was the night beauty fought the beast, the Mayor fell off his chair, and the stars of the show - Blackpool’s £1,000,000 illuminations - were upstaged by those crazy Muppets.

What began as a well-rehearsed switch-on by superstar Kermit ended in pandemonium with the new Miss United Kingdom losing her crown. Blackpool’s Mayor wrestling on the floor and explosions which threatened to wreck the lights and throw the whole resort into darkness.

The culprits? The Great Gonzo and Sweetums, who gatecrashed the show and brought with them their worst television manners.

Earlier Kermit had explained the absence of another Muppet favourite. Miss Piggy, he chuckled, had stayed away. She had expected to win the Miss United Kingdom title.