THE George Formby Society are raising £2500 in donations to restore the Warrington grave of their hero and his father to its former glory.
When local George Formby enthusiast Andy Bibby saw the decline in condition of the entertainer’s gravestone on a recent visit to pay his respects, he was moved to contact the George Formby Society and suggest they consider funding the remedial works.
Andy said “ As I visit the cemetery often, being local, I was in the best position to pass on my observations of the graves current state prior to restoration and recommended we act sooner than later.”
“The George Formby Society committee agreed. As a society we understand what a national great he was and we know his grave has attracted many visitors. comedian Frank Skinner was recently one such visioto while he made a documentary about his icon.”
The graves last restoration was over 20 years ago, and since then it has deteriorated to the point that the Society members have stepped up again to restore it. An appeal to members was launched in order to raise the required sum, with around £1000 already raised and with the blessing of the stars family, the renovations are now nearing completion.
Formby moved to Warrington when he was young to live in Stockton Heath with his family. His father, George Formby senior was a well known and successful music hall performer. Despite his fathers attempts to dissuade his son, George followed in his footsteps onto the stage after a short career as a jockey.
He was to become one of the most celebrated Warrington residents and can count the Queen amongst his many fans.
George Formby became the highest paid entertainer in the country with his trademark toothy grin, ukulele and his downtrodden underdog characters bringing him both fame and fortune. He starred in 20 movies and was earning the equivalent of £1.5 million per film, a lot of which can be credited to his formidable wife Beryl who was a hard nosed negotiator.
When George Formby died in 1961, aged 56, more than 150,000 fans lined the route of his funeral procession from Liverpool to the cemetery on Manchester Road
With the repair work now almost complete to coin Georges unforgettable words “ it turned out nice again.”
Should anybody wish to find out more about the George Formby Society or would like to donate please click here http://www.georgeformby.co.uk/restore17.htm