Chapter 9

Further Projects, 1963-68

APART FROM A Midnight Matinee of “The Ladykillers’ in 1963, which raised £138.11.7 for the Scarborough Council of Social Service and £46.3.11 for the Cinema Trades Benevolent Fund (accountants will notice a ratio between these figures) the first major post-conference project was the second Garden Party at Wykeham Abbey, held in 1964.

Hitherto in these pages we have relied on the memories of eyewitnesses or participants or both to give us a picture of various Table projects. This time let us trace the growth and development of a project through the pages of the Community Service minute book, starting under ‘Any Other Business’ with the initial idea and finishing with the completed project.

20th January 1964. It was suggested that consideration should be given to another event at Wykeham during 1964.
15th April 1964. Much discussion was given to a suggestion that a Garden Party and Barbecue be held in the grounds of Wykeham Abbey. It was pointed out that when this was held previously the Barbecue lost money and it was therefore proposed by D. Chapman, seconded by G. Dennis and carried that a Garden Party only be held at Wykeham Abbey, the date preferably between late June and mid-August, dependent upon the feelings of Lord Downe. It was proposed that the money raised be donated to the National Campaign for Cancer Research, subject to further information regarding administration costs which P. Fox undertook to enquire about.
Proposed M. Finnigan, seconded G. Dennis and carried, all subject to Council Approval.
20th May 1964. The Chairman, Peter Fox, reported the reaction of the Council to our proposal that a Garden Party only be held. After discussion Council asked this Committee to reconsider the question of holding a combined Garden Party and Barbecue. Reference was made to the fact that the [51] Barbecue had helped considerably in raising the sum of £450. Much discussion followed.
A date of 29th July 1964 was proposed by Dennis Hart, seconded by Paul Collins and carried. The discussion then dwelt upon which charity to support. Lord Downe, it was believed, would prefer a local charity. Alice Brooke Homes and Abbeyfield Society were two local charities suggested.
Peter Fox said he would enquire if there was any possibility of York University having a medical side as it had been su that we guarantee a sum of money annually for research into deafness,
The meeting then returned to the all-important question of whether to have a combined Barbecue and Garden Party and at 10.57 p.m. it was proposed by Dennis Hart, seconded by Geoff Dennis and carried ‘that the major annual event be a Garden Party and Barbecue at Wykeham Abbey, provided that the whole-hearted support of the Table be guaranteed. Failing that, the event should be a Garden Party only.’
23rd June 1964. The Chairman reported formally the Table’s decision to hold a Garden Party only without a Barbecue. Lord Downe had been visited and had expressed a wish that the event did not go on too late in the evening, and had offered the use of a miniature railway for giving rides to the children. Lord Downe was also endeavouring to obtain for us a Police Dog display.
It was reported that our earlier idea of furthering research into deafness was quite out of the question financially. Proposed by Fred Coopland, seconded Maurice Finnigan, it was then decided that we should support Alice Brooke Children’s Homes and other local charities.
Opening celebrity – it was decided to approach in order of preference:
Arthur Haynes, Nicholas Parsons, Dickie Henderson, Joan Regan.
Car Park: It was proposed that no charge be made for parking,
Admission: Adults 2/6. Children 6d.
Teas: To be charged separately. Stables available for use – wives and W.V.S. to organise this.
Publicity: This was left in the hands of Paul Collins and Fred Coopland.
Transport: Dennis Hart was appointed O.C. of transport.
Tents: not required.
Bar: Proposed by Harry Robson, seconded by Denis Chapman and carried on a vote that we do not have a bar.
Stalls: A list of proposed stalls using as a basis suggestions put forward at a previous meeting. (Thirty of them, ran from a cake stall to throwing crockery). Harry Robson agreed to act as organiser for all the stalls. [52]
30th June 1964. It was reported that Dickie Henderson had accepted an invitation to open the proceedings. Whether in these circumstances Joan Regan would attend was doubted by members in the theatrical ‘know’.
Police Dogs: Uncertainty existed over the presence of these animals, but it was decided to refer to them in the publicity and hope for the best.
Poster sites: Denis Chapman offered 10 poster sites in the town for publicity.
Posters: It was decided to print 200 posters, 400 car stickers in ‘dayglow’ (half with gum), 500 pseudo-summonses, 2,000 handbills and 1,000 tickets. Fred Coopland suggested the colour of the posters should be cloudy-grey-russett the colour of a mouse’s foot.
Newspaper Advertising: It was decided to spend £25 on this item and in addition to use such additional space as could be scrounged from advertisers.
Transport: Dennis Hart agreed to consult with United and Hardwicks, to lay on adequate buses to the grounds.
Car Park: The minute of the last meeting was revoked and after some discussion it was resolved to make a charge of 1/- per vehicle as a minimum.
Celebrities’ Tickets: Tickets for artists appearing at the Floral Hall would be made available to them through Geoff Baines.
Public Address System: The use of amplifying equipment was confirmed, and Nev. Gray would be invited to co-operate.
Teas: The Chairman reported that the W.V.S. had kindly agreed to provide teas, and Colin Sedgwick his equipment. Fred Coopland undertook to supply ice-cream and minerals.
Sideshows: Jobs were allocated to those members not present, and the Chairman prepared a complete list of side shows and those responsible for them.
Rain: In the event of inclement weather it was resolved to press on regardless.
Cavalcade: A publicity drive was planned for the preceding Sunday and Tuesday.

14th July 1964. It was reported that due to the lack of time the programmes and posters had to be printed announcing that Dickie Henderson would be opening the Garden Party. No reply had been received from Joan Regan as yet.
Publicity: Paul Collins stated that all Tablers had been circularised with posters, handbills and car-stickers for distribution and it was hoped that strenuous efforts would be made to sell the tickets.
Advertising: Fred Coopland informed the meeting that he had received numerous promises donating advertising space. [53] It was also reported that advertising space had been booked in the local press.
Cavalcade: Discussion took place on the possibility of having a cavalcade using cars, or alternatively using Dave Chadwick’s boat, or even towing round an old car. This was left for further investigation.
Car Notices: It was decided to proceed with these notices providing the wording was carefully thought out and that Lord Downe had no objections.
Transport: Information received from United and Wallace Arnold stating their proposals, and Dennis Hart was asked to investigate the cost of running a mini-bus from the road end to the grounds.
Public Address System: Neville Gray was unable to oblige; however, Mr. Shaw of Victoria Road was willing to do the work for the sum of £5.5. It was agreed that 2 microphones would be needed – one for Bingo.
Records: Mick Thorpe to be approached.
Stalls: Supt. Ward had agreed that Roulette would be permissible, but advised against any fruit machines.
Teas: The plan was outlined and approved, using Lord Downe’s equipment if available, Harry Robson having overall control for the food, etc.
Chairs: Geoff Dennis agreed to make enquiries regarding the possibility of borrowing these from Wykeham. Request was made for any pieces of hardboard for the stall signs, Tony Squire was asked to obtain poles; all were asked to save broken crockery and egg shells.

22nd July 1964. Publicity: It was reported that considerable space had been donated and in addition to the small advert there was to be a quarter-page advert on the Friday and a half-page on the Monday preceding the event.
Cavalcade: This was to take place on Sunday, 26th July, starting from Westwood at 7.30 p.m. All spare posters were required.
Police Dogs: This show would last approximately 20-30 minutes and will require an area of 50 yards. 5 p.m. was suggested by all as a draw for keeping people until the end.
Raffles: These were to be stationary on tables.
Food Arrangements: Harry Robson reported that these were well in hand
Collection of Furniture: Geoff Dennis reported All Saints Church had promised 12 forms, 18 tables, 25 chairs, and 50 chairs had been promised from Wykeham Village Hall and 7 or 8 tables. Queen Street Methodist Church had also number of tables and chairs they were willing to loan us.
The Rev. A. Branagan (St. Mark’s) had a number of complete side-shows and tables and chairs which he was prepared to loan. [54]
Stalls: Each member to be responsible for his own stall decorations. Help required to erect these on Tuesday, 28th.

20th October 1964. The Chairman, Peter Fox, thanked all members for their splendid effort in raising over £600 and whilst not wishing to single out individuals extended a special vote of thanks to Paul Collins and Fred Coopland for their excellent advertising which proved so successful. Furthermore, a letter had been received from Lord Downe expressing his satisfaction at the way the event had been organised.

The casual reader might be forgiven for assuming the last Minute tied up the project, but there was still much to do. At that October meeting, under the heading of ‘Spending of the £600 raised’ a detailed discussion regarding the needs of the Alice Brooke Home followed, occupying two closely written pages in the minute book. Finally:
It was proposed by Denis Chapman, seconded by Geoff Dennis and carried that a sub-committee comprising Peter Fox (Chairman), Paul Collins, John Poppleton and Jack Knowles be empowered to spend a maximum figure of £400 for the renovation, decoration and equipment of the games room of the Alice Brooke Children’s Home, Scalby Road, Newby; this sum to include the provision of toys, etc.
Proposed by Maurice Finnigan, seconded by Geoff Dennis and carried, that £200 be donated to the Abbeyfield Society to use locally at their discretion.

These resolutions were approved by the Council and by December the work was well in hand. At last, on the 23rd February 1965 it was reported that all the work had been completed and the question of an additional heater was being discussed.

These extracts from the Minute Book of the Community Service Committee relate to but one of the many major projects undertaken in recent years. We see the project, from inception to conclusion, from the inside, and we realise that work on a project does not necessarily end when the last stragglers have gone home and the stalls have been dismantled and cleared away.

The Charity Spectacular
The following year, under the chairmanship of Paul Collins, the Community Service Committee decided to stage another open-air event as their major effort. It was planned to take place at the height of the season, when the town was full of [55] resident stage celebrities who might be persuaded to make personal charity appearances or otherwise take part in the proceedings.

The Directors of the Scarborough Football Club kindly made the Seamer Road Athletic Ground available on Wednesday afternoon, 11th August 1965. The weather was fine and a large crowd turned up for Scarborough’s ‘Charity Spectacular’.

Few such events can have had such a star-studded cast. The main attraction was a football match, Show Biz XI, captained by Ronnie Carroll v. Scarborough Football Club, After an inspection of the teams by Mrs. Bessie Braddock, MP, Miss Susan Lane kicked off.

Further attractions included a display by the North Riding Police dogs. A gymnastics display by the Scarborough Y.M.C.A. was ably assisted by Jimmy Savile. The Tiller Girls, attractively turned out in rugby kit, not only entertained the crowd by their antics on the field but also sold a vast number of raffle tickets. The first prize, a Dansette record-player, was won by a holidaymaker from County Durham.

The Ippon Judo Club gave a demonstration. Freddie, the baby elephant from Kirby Misperton Zoo was a popular attraction.

The boys of the Y.M.C.A. ran an excellent balloon race and there were a number of ancillary side-shows. With the help of the W.V.S. several refreshment stalls were operated, and the small bar provided by the Table in the Directors Board Room for the hard-working celebrities and V.I.P’s was much appreciated.

Many of the celebrities then appearing in the town, including Harry Worth, Jimmy Savile, Susan Lane, Clinton Ford, the Patton Brothers and the Morton Fraser Harmonica Gang, helped by uncomplainingly giving autographs.

At the end of a fairly hectic day a net profit of £538.4.3 was available for division equally between the Scarborough Society for Mentally Handicapped Children, the Y.M.C.A. and the National Society for Cancer Relief. [56]

The Third Wykeham Abbey Garden Party and Open Day
Among the big Community Service projects mentioned in these pages it is perhaps fitting that the last and biggest should be fully reported in the 300th edition of Roundabout. Without the editor’s permission various extracts are here given.
This was the main fund-raising event for the Table year 1967-8. It was a great success due to the unflagging endeavour and enthusiasm of G. Strefford, chairman of Community Service, and also to the individual efforts of every single member of Scarborough Round Table. Purpose – to provide a mini-bus for handicapped children at Woodlands School

The new Lord Downe, who succeeded in 1965, was as gracious and helpful as his father and mother had been. He and Lady Downe not only consented to the use of the Abbey grounds, but generously agreed to open the house as well. It was to be a two-day effort, held on Saturday, and Sunday, 5th and 6th August 1967. Saturday was wet, Sunday was fine. Nevertheless on the two days over 1,700 persons attended at 6/6 per head (5/- admission to the grounds, plus 1/6 for an illustrated brochure giving admittance to the house).
Stewards, two to each room, were on duty in the house, and both Rotary and ’41 Club gave admirable support. Tea and refreshments were provided in the stable yard by H. Robson and the W.V.S.
Six sideshows were operated in the grounds and also a balloon race. The cake stall, thanks to the great persuasive talents of the Tablers’ wives who obtained supplies from innumerable relatives, was the most lucrative of the stalls, making £70 clear.
In spite of a disappointing attendance on Saturday, a total figure of £432 was taken at the gate and £130 for admission to the house.

The result was a net profit of £744.8.8, a record for the Table, and it more than covered the cost of a Bedford Dormobile. It is interesting to note that in the course of John Mitchell’s advertising campaign, use was made of the now defunct pirate Radio 270. It was felt that Granada T.V. at £40 for seven seconds or £56 for fifteen seconds was a trifle too expensive. [57]

Black and White Cricket Match and Fete
Once again, on 18th August 1968, the Black and White Minstrels, again playing at the Futurist Theatre, took part in a ‘Sporting Spectacular’ organised by the Table in aid of the fund for those suffering from cystic fibrosis. Held in the grounds of Bramcote School, the main event was a cricket match, Scarborough Round Table v. The Black and White Minstrels, 1 1/2 hours per innings. As every six to be scored was sponsored to the extent of some £10, lively play was ensured.

During the interval it was announced that Kanga (John) Priestley and Wogga (Chris) Thompson would demonstrate ‘for the very first time in Scarborough’, their remarkable talents with ‘real Australian boomerangs’. Side-shows did continuous business, and the Mitchell Maids and T.V.
Toppers sold great quantities of raffle tickets for a cricket bat autographed by the entire Minstrel cast.

Roundabout, in congratulating Gerry Strefford for organising the event, adds that he would have been stumped without John Mitchell, who organised Gerry.

The Table batted first and were all out for 141 (including 3 sixes). The Minstrels passed the Table’s total for the loss of 5 wickets (Alan Hampshire 105) and hit a further 5 sixes, with consequent profit to the fund.

In all, the event yielded a net profit of over £350, in spite of rainfall half way through the afternoon.

The Wishing Well
The last project to be mentioned in these pages is one that is likely to continue, public psychology being what it is, for a long time.

Rooted firmly in the animistic beliefs of primitive man, who felt it necessary or prudent to placate the spirits that dwelt in natural features and phenomena, especially water, is the ‘good-luck’ custom of throwing coins of low denomination from the Forth Bridge into the firth below.

Rivers, torrents, lakes and the sea have demanded their tribute for many centuries. Thus the throwing of pennies into fountains, and the making of associated wishes, are no [58] new phenomena, as the Romans well knew, and when ‘Three Coins in a Fountain’ was filmed some years ago the mania for dropping loose change into water became some thing of an epidemic.

The same principle, fortunately for Round Table, applies to wells. How the Scarborough Table ensured that a well should be provided for the purpose is told by Brian Heaps:

‘In August 1966. when Community Service Committee were faced with a deficit of £25, a minute appears, “That it is time Table could rely on some continuous source of income for its C.S. projects”, and it is in this minute that the origin of the Wishing Well can be found.

‘Peter Cooper, Table Chairman in that year, had just returned from a holiday in the Lakes. He was certain that the answer to our problem was to be found in a wishing well similar to that at Windermere from which the Windermere Table was having outstanding success.

‘The idea was received with enthusiasm, and at that meeting it was little realised that it would not become reality for some 20 months, or that it would create almost a political issue in the chambers of local government.

‘The siting and plans were of paramount importance, and the latter were entrusted to our own Table architect, Paul Collins. It was agreed that the best site and setting would be Peasholm Park, most popular for the holiday crowds, and it was this decision that nearly wrecked the scheme. The desired site lay on Corporation land.

‘Looking back, it is difficult to understand why the Town Hall found so much opposition to both idea and site. Nevertheless, plans were prepared and submitted. The official wheels ground slowly and reluctantly as the months went by. At last, on 5th August 1967, the project was approved by one vote.

The tender of £400 by A. W. Sinclair & Sons Ltd. was accepted, and construction began in March 1968. A dance held that month at the Scene One discotheque raised £103 which, together with the proceeds of the annual carol singing and jumble sale, gave us over £300 towards the cost.

‘The following month the well was completed and ready for its official opening. The 10th April dawned clear and sunny, and at 3 p.m., in the presence of representatives of [59] the Borough Council, Rotary Club, 41 Club, Lions Club and the press, the well was ‘opened’ by the Mayor of Scarborough
ex-Table Chairman Ernie (Don’t ‘ee worry) Pilgrim. The ringing of the bell by the first coins to be thrown in made sweet music.

‘There is no doubt that the Wishing Well is the most profitable venture undertaken by the Table. In the 1968 season it took into its depths coins totalling over £900. It is to be hoped that their collection, washing, drying and counting will continue for many years’.

Wishing Week
Concurrently with the establishment of the well an annual Wishing Week was envisaged, during which individual wishes were to be invited from the public. The first of these weeks took place at the end of 1968.

Some 70 wishes were received, surprisingly few for a town with a population of over 40,000. Many of them were not for personal benefit, but for the fulfilment of someone else’s needs. There were wishes from organisations as well as from individuals for transport of elderly, handicapped, sick and lonely people to see friends and relatives, locally and in other towns, to make hospital visits, and even just ‘to have a drive in a car’. There were wishes from the elderly or incapacitated for help in cutting hedges, tidying gardens, decorating, and digging potatoes. Several wishes were for full-time or part-time employment, others for equipment to assist the physically handicapped in the working of their own homes.

Owing to the timing of Wishing Week there were inevitable ‘Father Christmas’ wishes ranging from toys for children and grandchildren, Christmas cheer and fuel for the elderly and sick, to refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, bicycles, radios, T.V. sets and a bottle of whisky. The largest wish came from the W.V.S. for a new mini-van for their meals-on-wheels service.

All wishes were passed for investigation to members of the Table, each of whom was given details of two or three cases for him to visit and report upon. It would be interesting to know the outcome of one instruction to visit a certain lady ‘re wish for husband with bad leg’. [60]

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