Who’s who?: Famous faces at the Civic Hall

MANY a famous face has graced the Civic Hall in Uppermill – and now some of them have been immortalised on a new collage hung in the building.

The montage shows some of the celebrities who have made appearances at the Civic Hall since it changed from being a Mechanics’ Hall in 1962.

It was the brain-child of Parish Council vice-chair Cllr Paul Fryer, who said: “I hope it will be an interesting talking point as people work out who is who.”

Cllr Paul Fryer and wife Aileen, Cllr Rob Knotts and clerk Pam Bailey with the montage

The faces pictured include Morecambe and Wise, who arrived on 27 February 1965 for a coffee morning in aid of the Saddleworth Bulldogs.

Another is football World Cup winner Sir Bobby Charlton, was a judge at the Miss Chew Valley Personality Girl contest on 6 October 1966.

The 1970s saw a host of sports stars visit, including Brian Close, David Bairstow, Chris Old, Ray Illingworth and Sir Geoffrey Boycott, often at prize-giving dances for local cricket clubs.

Sportman’s dinners were an annual event, with guests including Brian Clough, David Lloyd, Jim Laker and Michael Parkinson.

Elections have often brought politicians to the Civic Hall, including future Prime Minister Tony Blair who answered questions there in 1995.

Liberal Party leaders Jeremy Thorpe, Jo Grimmond and David Steel have campaigned in the hall while Michael Heseltine rallied the local Conservatives there.  

Former Speaker of the House of Commons George Thomas attended a dinner there in June 1979 and before the First World War Sir Winston Churchill and Ramsay MacDonald also appeared.

The Saddleworth Festival of the Arts has over the years brought a host of familiar faces, from Ken Dodd and Jack Warner to Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth.

The most famous appearance, or should that be non-appearance, should have occurred on Easter Saturday, 13 April 1963, when The Beatles were due to make an appearance at an event organised by Springhead Football Club.

Unfortunately, it was the same weekend as the group made their first appearance on national TV in London, so they never came to Saddleworth! 

This seemed to be a pattern because in July 1964 Pete Best, the Beatles’ original drummer, was meant to appear at the Saddleworth Youth Pageant dance, but his van broke down, and so he never made it either!

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