Laurel and Hardy Sons of the desert convention

This year's theme was 'Cops and Robbers', screening all Stan and Ollie's brushes with the law.

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HELPMATES UK 2014

Laurel & Hardy

CONVENTION REPORT

 

At a Helpmates UK Conventions, there has always been, and always will be, lots and lots of Laurel & Hardy classic films to watch. But also, when you come out of the two screening rooms, there are always many other attractions to enjoy – and each year we seem to get better and better ones.

Among those at this year’s were: a wonderful display of Charlie Hall and other Laurel & Hardy-related original material. Then came a display of what must be half of the autographs Stan and Babe ever signed. Next was a photo montage of past Helpmates meetings, where long-serving members could see how they USED to look, going back over three decades (always good for a laugh).

HOWARD PARKER RAY ANDREW

Howard Parker looking at Ray Andrew's impressive display of original memorabilia

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And then a completely new display, which needed a whole room of its own to accommodate it, and still spilled out into the inner court. This was a fabulous collection of original and rare L&H stills and memorabilia – everything hand-pick for its rarity, or simple beauty – a good percentage of which were personally signed by L&H and many of the other Roach stars featured. Add to this a Sales Room, fit to grace any department store layout, and you can see there was plenty to browse and enjoy.

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Laurel and Hardy Sales room

ARKWRIGHTS EMPORIUM. The ever popular sales room.

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But then, it doesn’t matter what you do, or see, or where you go in the world, as the thing that makes any event truly memorable is THE PEOPLE YOU MEET – and we at the Helpmates have always been fortunate to attract some really nice members and guests. Sprinkled among the guests were no less than four authors, plus others who were experts on different related subjects, so there was always someone around to ask those questions about Laurel and Hardy which may have been niggling you for so long.

We also had a couple of celebrities in the audience, who – though we kept their presence pretty low key, (so that they could enjoy the Convention in common with the rest) – had constant attention from guests wanting to know all about their connection with Laurel & Hardy, and hear their wonderful stories.

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MOLLY and PEGGY worked with Laurel and Hardy

These two ladies kept everyone enthralled with their stories of working in British Variety, including spending four weeks on the Laurel & Hardy show. But who are they? All will be revealed in the June issue of The Laurel and Hardy Magazine.

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But, most of all, it is YOU, the members, who are the backbone of these meetings: for without your support we wouldn’t have anyone to show the films to, no-one to view the displays, and no-one to create that wonderful atmosphere which always spontaneously generates when we all get together.

You can tell a Convention is good when the hotel staff come over to you, specially to let you know what a great atmosphere it is, and how well-behaved everyone is. The staff were genuinely pleased to have us there, and said how much they enjoyed our Conventions.

A big BIG “thank you” to all our Helpmates Helpers; those who did talks and presentations; our compere, and our projectionist – who puts in many days of his time, purely because he loves to watch people enjoying the Laurel & Hardy films.

 

laurel and hardy displays

Mark Hammond (left) Filled another room with a collection of original memorabilia. / Dave Tomlinson (right)  put on an impressive autograph display.

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out door photos

Paul Provins with his grandson and Andy Kaye pose with 'the Boys'

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More about the Convention will appear in the June issue of the Laurel & Hardy Magazine (SUBSCRIBE HERE). Meanwhile, don’t just take our word for it that it was a thoroughly enjoyable event — take a look below at what some of the Sons said.

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WHAT THEY SAID

Hello Rob ... another wonderful day ... thank you and your trusty team, as always ... the sound of laughter ... Stan and Ollie on the big screen ... great to meet new people ... what was also lovely was that people wanted to share their collections ... saw some truly amazing items ... chatting to people who had met, worked with, or seen Laurel and Hardy live ... priceless memories that were shared ... thank you once again.

Tony Butcher (Northampton)

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Hi Rob, was a good day — enjoyed the venue – hope to see you again next year

Andy Kaye

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Hi Rob, I just wanted to thank you for a most enjoyable time at the Helpmates event on Sunday. Very professionally done, and as I used to remember them. It was good to have a brief chat with you and some other guests, in the social area between the film rooms. We had a good time, and hope to be back next year.

Matt Browning

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Hi Rob

Thank you again for organising another brilliant convention

Regards, Steve Dykes

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Hi Rob,

Just sending an email saying how much again I enjoyed the convention – loved it!

When is the next one??

Regards to all, Anthony Quarterman

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Thank you for yet another nice convention.

Nick, Jan, and Russell Rich (Kent)

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Hello Rob,

A big thanks for another fine convention ... just as good as ever. We very much enjoyed the weekend, it was good to meet up with old friends and make new ones too.  We look forward to the next one next year. We also had a nice day out at the Rochester Sweeps Festival on the Monday – which was a bonus.

All the best, Dave & Denise Tomlinson (Derby)

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Hi Rob,

Thanks for another great convention. See you in September at the Bristol event.

Cheers, Phil Lansdown (Bristol)

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Hi Rob

Just to say thank you so much for a great event last Sunday! You and your family put so much in to running the conventions, and I don't think any of the rest of us would be able to take on such a huge task. It ran really smoothly and, when I looked around, everyone was enjoying themselves.

Love, Celia

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Hello Rob

It was good to be back again, and good to see more new faces. I enjoyed the weekend and will be back next year (all being well).

It's always a pleasure to help out at the events, but without all the hard work you put into them, there wouldn't be any, so a big “Thank You” to you and your family. It makes the journey down South very worthwhile!

Thanks, Howard Parker (Derby)

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Gregg Taylor

Gregg Taylor could not resist this book!

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Next events:

Laurel and Hardy HELPMATES UK convention

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WHAT HAPPENED MAY 26th 2013

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WHAT HAPPENED 2012

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HELPMATES PAST EVENTS

 

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