Regular readers of our column may recall a feature on the 1950s “Blonde Bombshell” Sabrina, back in September 2011, which saw her starring in fine style at Nelson’s now legendary Imperial Ballroom back in the ballroom’s halcyon years.
Here our story takes on a new dimension as we fast-forward to New Year’s Eve 2011, which sees “Yours Truly” with my dear wife Ruth and our good neighbours, Mick and Vicky, out through Colne to see in 2012.
First port of call, the Derby Arms, which is now back up and running again after an excellent refurbishment. Drinks consumed and across the road to the Kings Head (Wallace Hartley!), as our town hall chimes, 9 o’clock. More rums down the hatch and up Church Street to the Shepherds Arms (now Duke of Lancaster!), as Jessie J’s voice echoes all around.
Now into Market Street to the ancient “Hole in the Wall” (Craic’ith Wall!). We are amazed to find it closed on the busiest night of the year!
So now, over the road to the Red Lion Hotel, after at last after three hostelries which have needlessly changed their names, we arrive at one which is proud to proclaim its original 18th Century title. Our good friend, genial mine host Tony Parkinson, greets us as we enter the cosy olde-world hotel. Tony has known my wife Ruth for six decades since they were neighbours during the post-war years on Birtwistle Avenue.
Suddenly, I see coming towards me a smiling Rendell Shorten; Rendell was my school pal at Primet Secondary during the “Rock ‘n’ Roll” years of the 1950s. We both wish each other a joyful “Happy New Year”, with smiles all round. Sadly, this would be the last time I would ever see Rendell’s gleeful features - within just a few days he would tragically have passed away.
Now I see my great colleague from the Leader Times, none other than the renowned wordsmith, Andrew Spencer. Hearty salutations followed by New Year greetings as Andrew waves a warm farewell.
As our happy foursome calls out “A Happy New Year” to a beaming Tony, just as we turn to leave, I see someone I haven’t seen since I worked with him at Asquith Electrics over 45 years ago.
Let’s now arrive to the crux of our story - my old pal from Asquith’s (no name, you’ll see why shortly) shakes hands saying “Geoff you old xxxxxx, I read your column every week; you know what, Sabrina never came to the Imp”! Well, my chum from yesteryear, here’s a ticket which shows Sabrina at the Imperial Ballroom on Friday, January 20th, 1956, from 8 p.m. onwards. Price to see the sex-symbol of the 1950s, a bargain five shillings (25p). Nuff said!