CONVENTIONALLY SPEAKING


Well, all the hard work and planning we put into this year’s Helpmates UK Convention paid off in great style at the Holiday Inn, on 26th May. Against tradition, it was a gloriously sunny Bank Holiday Sunday, which couldn’t have been better for the very first sight which greeted us upon approaching reception – a Model-T Ford. The glorious combination of sun and spectacle must have prompted many a comment like: “Even you look bright today,” aimed at the many Sons who were privileged to be allowed to sit in it. It was certainly my highlight of the day, made more so by my actually having a ride round to the front of the hotel in it, where it was all I could do to stop myself singing out loud: “Fre…esh fi…iish, caught in the ocean this mor...orn…ning!”
We cannot thank owners John and Sue Palmer enough for this wonderful treat. They not only brought the Model-T down to Chatham at their own expense, but manned it throughout the day, so that all of us could enjoy it. What great car, and what a great couple.
Once inside the hotel, the Convention was a hive of activity, with well over one-hundred Conventioneers filling the lounge areas, bars, Sales Room, and the two Film Rooms. The décor was added to by some well laid out tables, exhibiting Laurel & Hardy memorabilia and merchandise of all kinds to view, plus various authors selling their latest book releases.
Needless to say, the atmosphere was filled with laughter throughout the day, and continued into the late hours, before being reinvigorated over a Laurel and Hearty breakfast.
Regardless of the location, or what the attractions are, the most memorable aspect of any Convention is the PEOPLE, and we, the Helpmates, are delighted to have such wonderful support from our members. When we say our members are “special,” we main ALL the members, all of whom contribute to making it so – for which we thank you.
We are already looking forward to meeting you all again next year, plus of course those of you who haven’t been to one for a while, or maybe haven’t even been at all.

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Laurel and Hardy 2013 Helpmates UK Convention

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Should you need a little further encouragement to come along, read what this year’s attendees thought of it:

What they said:


Hello Rob.

                 I attended the recent convention and I just wanted to say thank you so much for a fantastic day. I feel so glad that there are so many people wanting to keep the laughter of Stan and Ollie alive. Again many thanks and can't wait until Sunday 4th May 2014.
Gregg Taylor

Hi Rob,

                   Now that the dust has settled after the weekend I can reveal what I really thought of the convention. It was great! There is so much going on all the time, something to suit everyone. Much more work went into this than we used to manage years ago, congratulations to you and your army of workers for a job well done. It's hard to believe it has been 30 years since we started these meetings, where did all the time went? Thanks again for a super day.
All the best, Del Kempster – Live Ghost Tent

Hi Rob,

               Thanks for a great time on Sunday.
Debbie Fox

Hello Rob.
                  It was a really good day. I really do appreciate how much work goes into these days, Rob. I organise a one-day convention for young magicians every year (as well as monthly workshops) so really do appreciate all that goes into it. You can rest back feeling very happy. It was a brilliantly varied day, and A.J Marriot was probably the best I have seen him.
Kevin Doig

In terms of the films shown it was one of the best.
Steve Micallef

Hi Robert
                Just a final note to say thank you for an amazing weekend. Thanks again and take care.
Sue & John Palmer
[And THANK YOU to you, Sue & John, for bringing your superb Model T-Ford with figures along, it was a wonderful display. Rob]

Hi Rob,

                Arrived back safely. I really enjoyed being back among the Helpmates again after my 'break'! It was a really enjoyable event, and many thanks to you for organising it. I spent most of the day 'circulating', meeting old friends and making new friends. John Palmer's Model T was a definite highlight to see.
Best wishes to you all, Howard Parker.

Dear Rob,

                      Many thanks for a great convention once again. You and your team really did a great job. We look forward to seeing you again next year, and we like the idea of the day out at Leeds Castle the day before the convention. Hope you all have a good rest, you deserve it.
Best wishes, Roy Hollister.

Hi Rob,

                  Just wanted to say that all the Saps enjoyed the Helpmates Convention. It was a nice relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and great to catch up with some people I hadn’t seen for a long time. Lots of very pleasant new people there who I chatted with all enjoyed the special world of Laurel and Hardy. Keep up the good work!
Rogerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Robinson SAPS AT SEA TENT

Hello Rob,

                     Once again thank you for the good convention on Saturday we enjoyed it.
Nick Rich

Hi Rob,

                   The convention was tremendous, I really enjoyed it. Put me down for 4th May convention next year. I will be coming.
Peter Andrews. Bristol

Hi Rob,

                   Just wanted to thank you again, for the wonderful convention. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is truly a highlight of my year. It was again obvious that you had gone to great lengths to make it an event that will not be easily forgotten. It is always nice to see the presentations by A.J Marriot and others, but we all know that you are the 'glue' that keeps everything running and ensuring that the fans have a truly memorable time.
Best wishes, Steve Dykes. P.S. Am looking forward to next year already.

Hi Rob,

                  Congratulations on another great convention!! As always, a superb selection of material. I'm already looking forward to next year's. Keep up the great work!!
Regards, David Pickard

Thanks for a great Convention – films, laughter, a gang of people aged from ‘Soup to Nuts’. Excellent! Kind regards to everyone who worked so hard to make the day a success.
Tony Butcher

Had a really great weekend – Saturday in London, then to Chatham for the Laurel and Hardy do (on the Sunday) which was excellent as always!! Our wonderful host, Mr. Rob Lewis, was celebrating his 30th year hosting this excellent event [at this venue alone!]. I have now been to 3! the last 3 years, and can’t wait to go back again next year!! May the 4th (be with you) 2014 bring it on !
Joanne Mitchell-Waite

Dear Rob,

                    Firstly thanks for a great day – was awesome and haven’t come down yet from it all. I met some awesome people.
Regards, and was fab meeting you yesterday and loved every minute of it.

Paul Paget

Next year’s Convention is on Sunday 4th May 2014. It’s easy to remember – all you need to do is say to yourself: “May the fourth be with you!”

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