(Award-winning) Joyce’s chat column


Well here we are Christmas and New Year over and done with, even though it’s only a couple of weeks ago, it seems to be ages ago that I was partying and having too many late nights, but what the heck I enjoyed the festive season and hope you all did too.  I would like to take this opportunity of wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year for 2012.

Now some sad news, I have to report the recent death of Kathy Barton from Hereford. Kathy was a lady whose family have a long pedigree in the travelling fair side of the amusement industry, and around 300 mourners turned out for her funeral.  Kathy had a hip replacement earlier in 2011 and from here she developed complications and then her blood system got poisoned and she never recovered from this, shame she was such a lovely lady.  Kathy played a large part in the Showmens’ Social Association with the late Harry Thomas and many is the time that I have attended their functions, in fact in my early days at World’s Fair, I used to help to organise them. 

I can remember on a few occasions that we did have trouble, like the time after a football match we went to the Bier Keller at Belle Vue, Manchester and some of the showmen’s children were swinging from the chandeliers and taking the food from the waiters’ trays before they could get it to the tables! And once at the King James Hotel in Edinburgh they decided to have a wild party and boy was it wild, they did something with the radiators and water came cascading down the staircase of the hotel, they had pillow fights, and the pillows were feather and these ended up with the cascading water on the hotel staircase, in fact I can remember the hotel manager contacting World’s Fair and saying that none of these people could leave the hotel unless someone agreed to pay for the damage!  We managed to get in contact with some of the parents of the children, well I say children there was not a one of them under 16 years of age, and they agreed to foot the bill.

I must admit on both of these occasions that neither Kathy or Harry were present, it would not have happened if they had have been.  On the other hand, we had some great events with them and no trouble at all, just great fun and enjoyable times, so I suppose one has to take the rough with the smooth. But after the troubled ones, if I remember rightly, World’s Fair stated they would not organise any further trips for them, I don’t suppose you could blame them really.

Anyway whatever, I will always remember Kathy with great fondness and would like to extend my sympathy to her family especially her son Graham whom she lived with.

In last month’s column I made reference to the Scottish exhibition we used to have in Renfrew, and this brought back memories of one particularly eventful evening we spent there.  As was par for the course at this exhibition, the first evening of the show always featured a cabaret, and nine times out of ten on these evenings the fire alarm would sound and we would all have to gather outside in the hotel car park, which was always freezing cold as the exhibition was always held in late November.

On this particular occasion one certain person namely Mick Kennedy decided that he wasn’t going outside in the cold and he hid under one of the tables in the cabaret room – but not just on his own – he had the company of a bottle of red wine, and when we all came back in freezing cold there was Mick nice and snug and warm, mind you he could have been warmer than he really wanted if there had really been a fire!!

It was also on the same evening that John Hutchinson and Clive Godfrey both ex Thomas Automatics employees went missing, but this was much later in the evening.  Judy Godfrey Clive’s wife decided she was going to bed and Clive said he would have just another drink with John and then come up too. Well once Judy got upstairs she fell fast asleep, and didn’t wake up for a while, and when she did Clive wasn’t there, she looked at the clock and realised that over 2 hours had gone by, and she was a little concerned, so she decided to go back down to the hotel bar, but there was no sign of either Clive and John, so she was at a loss.  Anyway one of the other late night revellers at the bar went to the toilets and came back out very quickly saying he could hear loud snoring noises coming from two of the cubicles, well of course this had to be investigated, and what did the investigation find, only both Clive and John fast asleep sat on the toilets – separately I might add.  It took a good few minutes to rouse either of them, but it took them much longer to live this down, if they ever have!!

Many of us in the industry will remember the names of June and Roger Tod of Scot Tod Developments in Crickhowell who made change machines etc. and then their son Nicholas joined the company, followed by his wife Harriet. The company went through times of turmoil and all four of the former named people had no further involvement with the company. June and Roger are still in Crickhowell, both retired, but very much a part of the community in which they live, while  Nicholas and Harriet are now living in South Africa still working and enjoying the work with the lovely sunny climate. Now that is what I call a sensible move, and I would like to wish them luck, and now maybe I might even add South Africa to my holiday jaunts, who knows?!!

There was a loud knocking at my front door recently, and when I opened it, imagine my surprise to see two policemen standing there, and one of them said are you Joyce Todd? to which I replied I was, and he handed me a letter and said that a Chief Inspector of Oldham Division had asked them to give it to me, then they about turned and went.  I opened the letter with great trepidation, and when I read it, it was great news, the area in which I live comes under Oldham West Neighbourhood and has around some 10,000+ inhabitants living in it, and I have been chosen from all the residents in the area to receive the Oldham West Neighbourhood Award for 2011, which I felt was quite an honour, especially when the invite itself came from The Chief Superintendent/Divisional Commander of Greater Manchester Police, and it had also had to go before an adjudication panel.

I am to be presented with the award on Friday 20 January at the Oldham Civic Centre and it will be a champagne reception, followed by the awards then a buffet, and the reason for the award is for my outstanding support that I given to the police and the community in which I live, when you get something like this a ‘thank you’ it makes it all worthwhile, so I am looking forward to donning my best bib and tucker and having a great night out. Will let you know in the next column if I got home safe or they arrested me!!

Talking about awards I see that Innovative Technology are sponsoring The Oldham Business Awards 2012 they are a regular sponsor of this prestigious event.  For 2012 they are sponsoring the Start-Up Business category which is an all important category as we need new businesses and it must be nice for new companies to be rewarded for their efforts

Money Controls are also sponsoring the awards but in what category I’m not sure, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be one that is very worthwhile.  It’s also nice to know that successful companies as both Innovative and Money Controls are happy to support events like this.

I would also like to congratulate Innovative Technology on their 20th anniversary of the formation of the company which was founded by the entrepreneur David Bellis who of course was one of the founder’s of Coin Controls as it was in those days, now it is under the name of Money Controls and David is no longer a part of this company.  It’s great to see what one man with his ideas and dedication have given our industry and many fields outside it, well done David you have achieved what many people dream of becoming – SUCCESSFUL.

Had some news recently that Barry Kirby late NSM has had a stroke, in fact he has had three, the last one more serious than the other two, but according to the information received Barry is now on the mend, and obviously wants to be fighting fit again soon.  I’m sure all of you that know Barry and that is many of you would like to wish him well and hope he has a speedy recovery.

The outcome a family feud has now been determined by law and this will see the closure of Nobles Piccadilly amusement arcade in Manchester, the site has been earmarked for a Travelodge, a Waitrose store and a Nandos restaurant, which should be due for completion by the summer of 2013.  There have been several comments from the public in the Manchester Evening News reference the decision and quite surprising that many of the comments left were pro the amusement arcade and upset about it’s closure.  I remember when the arcade first opened it was lovely and upstairs there was a nite club which was extremely elegant and well run and it was always a great night out. I only hope that when this lovely building is demolished they don’t erect a grey concrete mass of which tends to be Travelodge’s style.

Well it will be EAG that is everyone’s mind at the moment let’s hope it is an excellent show with lots of business transacted and it gives us a great start to the new year.  The organisers have worked extremely hard to put this show on and have pulled out all stops, and they deserve a huge pat on the back and also your support at the show.



Add Your Comment

* Required field. All comments are reviewed before appearing.

Get our newsletter