It couldn’t have turned out nicer for George Formby devotees heading for a special get-together in Lancashire today.
A priceless haul of unseen Formby memorabilia was discovered this week in an old filing cabinet during an office clearance in Preston.
The timely find meant officials of the George Formby Society were able to examine the treasure trove en route to this weekend’s convention in Blackpool.
“It’s so exciting – I can wait to see what has turned up,” said chairwoman Caroline Stewart. “If it is as good as we think it is, then we will be trying to buy it to add to our collection.”
A team from Felton’s Office Furniture unearthed stacks of photographs, letters and other personal items as they cleared out a building near the city centre – not far from the hospital where the entertainer died in 1961.
Boss Scott Felton said: “In a filing cabinet there was a stack of paperwork and books. But in a suitcase was an absolute ton of stuff relating to George Formby. We couldn’t believe our eyes.
“There were loads of original photos of him, a signed book, lettters and even the passports belonging to his wife Beryl and his fiancee Pat. We put some of it on Facebook and within a couple of minutes we were contacted by the George Fomby Society. It was as if all their Chistmases had come at once.
“They said it is quite a rare find - there’s stacks and stacks of the stuff. We’ve got lots of paperwork from Beryl, a load of personal photos of the couple and some old newspaper cuttings. There are even menus from meals they must have attended.
“It’s ironic because my grandad, who is 87, used to know George personally because he used to stay at my great grandad’s house in Blackpool. He’s thrilled.”
Formby, born in Wigan, became Britain’s highest-paid entertainer at the height of his 40-year showbiz career.
He starred in 21 hit films and cut more than 200 records. including When I’m Cleaning Windows, Aunty Maggie’s Remedy, With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock and Grandad’s Flannelette Nightshirt.
He lived for some time in St Annes, but after his wife’s death he quickly announced his engagement to Penwortham teacher Pat Howson. Tragically he died of a heart attack inSt Joseph’s Hospital in Mount Street, Preston before they could tie the knot.
Formby fans are gathering at the Imperial Hotel, Blackpool today and tomorrow to honour their idol.