MEANWHILE, IN NEW ZEALAND...

Moya Gleave has sent me a copy of the poster for the fan club's next bash, on January 25 2008.

 

I've also heard from Moya of the New Zealand Billy Fury Fan Club, which is extraordinarily active.  She tells me...

The Billy Fury Fan Club is a group of fans and friends of Billy’s who join together for three reasons: to have fun, to keep Billy’s memory alive and to raise funds for various causes which help people less fortunate than ourselves.

To relay some of our events in no particular order:

Billy’s Millennium birthday we hosted Billy’s Birthday Billynium where we turned back time with music from the decades of Billy’s life and beyond, which was a four hour show with 48 acts and 60 people involved and raised almost $5,000 for The South Auckland Hospice.

$9,500 was divided between the Child Cancer Foundation and the Hospice and was raised with a Royal Variety Command Performance and was indeed a right Royal Night with Royal lookalikes in the royal box and 48 star acts. This took almost a year to organise. Billy’s Mam came over from Liverpool for this one.

Billy’s Birthday Bedroom Bedazzler (Pyjama Party) raised enough money to sponsor a guide dog for a blind person – the dog was named Billy, of course.

 Everyone turned up dressed for the occasion in pyjamas, dressing gowns and slippers and had a lot of fun dancing, participating in silly games and watching yet another crazy cabaret in keeping with the theme.

A total of $3,500 was donated to the hospice as a result of our most ladylike night – Fury’s Focus On Fashion.

A Pommy Pub Night, which included bingo, crazy cabaret, singalong with the old-style piano, pub grub of fish, chips and mushy peas. The atmosphere was perfect with metres of red, white and blue buntings, tablecloths, union jacks by the dozen and pictures of Billy. This raised over $4,000 for The Neurosurgical Foundation.

Over $5,000 was raised for the Hospice with a mid-winter Christmas FANtasia. Dancing, crazy cabaret, carols by candlelight, crazy games and with the venue looking like a grotto with a festive atmosphere was the order of the day.

$2,500 was handed over to the Alzheimers Society, being proceeds from a hilarious MemoraBILLYa quiz night.

A spoof on Gilligans Island – Billyfans Island -saw us stranded on a tropical island complete with blue skies, trees, leis and desert island discs with everyone bringing their own song, dancing and an appropriate cabaret brought in $3,000 for yet another deserving cause.

Our JuBILLY Op Shop Ball was a huge success – everyone had to go to a hospice shop and purchase their ball attire – the band had everyone dancing the night away, with a few skits thrown in for a lot of laughs. Ticket sales went over $4,000 with an excess of another $1,000 taken over the counters at hospice shops. 

We support the Cot Death Society, Daffodil Day and Gold Heart Day on an annual basis also. 

Individuals have benefited with wheelchairs etc.

I put my heart and soul into our Billy Fury dos and they are hard work but very popular and all events sell out within twp weeks of the tickets going on sale by word of mouth and enjoyed by all.

You can contact Moya by e-mail at billyfury@paradise.net.nz

Their address is The Billy Fury Fan Club, Wondrous Place, 106 Harry Dreadon Road, RD4, Drury, Auckland, New Zealand.

They have also sent me their National Fanthem, sung to the tune of Land Of Hope and Glory...

Fans of Billy Fury, ever more we'll be,
He will live forever, in our memory.
In our hearts we'll treasure, time will not erase
The memory of our Billy - who found a wondrous place.
 
We'll remember Billy, in a wondrous place.
 
(Click here for a midi file.)

...and on December 2, 2002, I heard of more antipodean antics...

AROUND THE WORLD ON Billyair Flight 62.

 
Our trip of a lifetime Around The World on BILLYair Flight 62 was amazing.

The venue resembled the inside of an aircraft - passengers had to "board" the aircraft after proceeding with their tickets, passports and sik-saks through check-in, passport control via the sniffer dog on duty.

Bags were placed on the security conveyor belt.

With seat belts fastened passengers were taken on a four-hour trip by way of our show with acts and stars from around the world.

We made a stop-over at The Pearly Gates to meet Our Billy. Another success for The Billy Fury Fan Club and our chosen charity benefited from our generous donation.

And on September 30 2003, I received this report from Moya..

QuizzaBILLYty.

September 03 saw The Billy Fury Fan Club spring into action with another Billy ‘do’ This time in the form of a Quizz Night. Billy ‘do’s normally take place in the middle of 2 weeks school holidays, giving me the week before to set up & decorate the hall and the week after to clean up, dot the I’s & cross the T’s. There was no possiBILLYty of this happening so it was all a bit of a mad rush – but WE MADE IT!

½ hr of Billy music played as 30 teams of 6 – each team dressed as a theme for their team, made their way to their tables and there were some beauts:

  1. Dead Celebs.

  2. Forever In Blue Jeans.

  3. Gib Genius’s.

  4. Chowick Angels.

  5. Chowick Devils.

  6. Rock’n’Rollers.

  7. Old MacDonald’s Farm

  8. Bad Girls & Mummy’s Boys.

  9. The Black Hand Gang.

  10. Th’Espians.

  11. Hot Shots.

  12. Tinsel Topz.

  13. Ex.Pats.

  14. Fur®y Fools.

  15. The Billy Who’s

  16. Wacky Whizz Kidz.

  17. Daffy Bunch.

  18. Caruba & Cokers.

  19. Caesar Salad.

  20. FURYous HillBILLY’s.

  21. Tartan Terrors.

  22. Franklyn Farmers.

  23. Vital Valuables.

  24. Saints’n’Sinners.

  25. Friday Freaks.

  26. The All Blacks.

  27. Bug Busters.

  28. The Fred Dags.

  29. Old Rockers.

  30. Chess.

The night started with Moya’s ‘Yoo Hoo’ announcements. Stating firstly that Our hall had become a smoke-free zone, but there would be regular fag breaks - so non smokers would just have to talk amongst themselves for a couple of minutes while the smokers went outside to satisfy their craving. During the 3 fag breaks music played – Smokin’ In The Boys Room/Motley Crew ~ Smoke Smoke Smoke That Cigarette ~ Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. Candy Ciggies were placed on each table. Anyone who has the sudden urge to ‘pass wind’ should raise their hand and ask permission to leave the room, they will be granted permission and the rest of us would wait while they went outside to pollute the atmosphere! During the course of the night 3 people got fined $1 for the Hospice for passing wind without asking permission! More about the fines as you read on.

A blow up doll was seated at a team who were a member short. The judges were introduced on stage – dressed appropriately to Here Come The Judge. The runners (dressed as Nuns) to Dominique. Our Marker – dressed in Cap’n’Gown to D.In Love. Our QuizzaBILLYty Master – dressed as Convict No. 19041940 to Marty’s Bad Boy…….and battle commenced. There were 10 rounds of 20 questions with supper (and Billy music playing) in between and lotz of laffing. Silly answers were read out during the course of the evening. $50 raised in fines alone was presented to the Hospice. Moya never missed an opportunity – each time the blow up doll was spotted at a different table (usually with some silly object – like a flag or a stick of Blackpool Rock - protruding from some part of its anatomy) each team member of the whole table was fined $1 for having an extra team member. Our Scott (dressed as Elvis/Dead Celeb) went to the loo while a Billy song was being played – on his return he was fined $1 coz Elvis Whatsisname ‘left the building’ while Billy was singing – How Rude!

Sue’s daughter Donelle – dressed in the shortest gymslip, pink thong, stockings & suspenders was fined $1 for distracting a male team member on the next table! The female bunny with large pink ears was caught on camera coming out of the boys toilet. Billy Bunter was fined $1 as he had been banned previously from any further Billy ‘do’s and managed to get back in! The organizer (moya) even got fined $1 for inserting the same question in 2 different rounds – must have been having a senior moment when I wrote the questions.

Everyone who had mobile phones were asked to switch them on and dial the numbers 0 – 2 – 1 – 1 – 0 – 0 – 7 – 3 – 1…….then choose a number and press send ~ the first one to get thru won a Billy C.D. The winner got thru to my mobile which was hooked up to a microphone and played Halfway To Paradise which is my ring tone.

We had a Feddie Mercury Wannabee competition, which was hilarious – the winner took away 2 tickets to the F.M. Tribute Show. (By the way – the show was fantastic – the winner couldn’t go as he was on camp with the kidz and his wife invited me)!!!

We did Bob’s stand-up/sit-down Bingo ~ someone cheated and got fined $1.

At 1 a.m. the night finally came to an end with the first 3 teams choosing a prize (in order of first, second & third) from the 18 prizes on the prize table ~ one of which was one of those male shaped decorative bottles filled with Chilli’s – which I’d labelled a Chilli Billy! The dunces table each got a pill bottle with sweeties in with a label – Billy’s Brain Boosters!

The hall was quickly cleaned up as I’d put rubbish bags on each table and asked each team to take their rubbish home as I had no way of disposing of it before the hall was being used the following night – no one minded in the least (I’ll do that again) and everyone left saying what a great night and "WHEN’S THE NEXT ONE"?


MOYA'S STATUE

Tom Murphy, the sculptor who created the statue of Billy that now stands in the courtyard of the Museum of Liverpool Life, also made some smaller bronze versions.  They are still available through Liverpool Sculptures.

One was taken to Moya in New Zealand, and this is her story of its ceremonial unveiling.

 

Unveiling Celebration Of  The Bronze Statuette of Our Billy

As I carried Our Little Billy into the venue where the unveiling was going to take place, – I’m sure "He smiled at me and angels sang".

 At 4 pm 120 invited fans and friends arrived, all wearing their Billy badges to meet ’n’ greet with Billy’s voice coming through the speakers as he sang some of his most popular songs. 

Everyone took to their seats armed with the programme, candles and a list of Good Times – Guaranteed upcoming events.

 The ceremony commenced at 4.30pm with my predictable "Yoohoo" followed by a chorus of "Yoohoo" in reply.

I gave a short speech, during which we saw Billy’s Mam and brother Albert standing at the big statue in Liverpool being interviewed on the North-West Tonight programme back in April last year, projected on a gigantic screen. At the end of my speech we stood and sang our National FANthem.

 I then introduced Michael Cox who was going to share the pleasure of unveiling Our Little Billy with me. Michael reminisced about his friendship with Billy. As bubbles surrounded us, Michael cut the bronze ribbon and I removed the blue silk cover from the focus of attention. To much applause Michael then sang I Will.

 Our Robbie Robson then did a sincere and BILLYant job of speaking about The Life and Times of Billy during which we listened to a recorded interview with Billy in his own words - just to hear his voice among us was awesome. We then watched and listened to Billy sing on the big screen in glorious black and white. It was "Like He’d Never Been Gone’.

 We then lit our candles for a few minutes silence as we faced Billy and listened to Iris Williams’ rendition of "He Was Beautiful’. A very moving moment.

Time then for our guest tribute singers to (in Billy’s words) “stand on the boards and warble”.

 Robbie returned to the stage and sang his beautiful version of "All My Hopes’ with such feeling that brought a lump to my throat.

 Next up came Ross. Ross played  Billy in our FANtasy Night last year and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him in future Billy dos.

He enthralled us with Billy’s unreleased I Must Be Dreaming.

 I was then proud and honoured to introduce Tom Sharplin - New Zealand’s King Of Rock ’n’ Roll to speak about Britain’s King Of Rock ’n’ Roll and sing for us A Thousand Stars.

 Our Robbie returned and delighted us with his version of It’s Only Make Believe adding a little humour by changing the line "my life I’d give for you" with "my wife I’d swap for you’ – well, he is a comedian!  He’d been banned from using some of the lines he usually changes.

 Lin, Billy Fury Fan No 2 in NZ spoke about the time she met Billy and a little about our club and our friendship.

 Rose spoke about her uncle who worked on the docks with Billy – how he came home one day and said to Rose’s dad:  “There’s a lad on the docks who thinks he’s (bleep)in’ Elvis.” As Billy became famous, Rose’s dad told his brother:  “He’s better than (bleep)in’ Elvis!”

 Jackie spoke about how privileged she was to have been at The Essoldo, Birkenhead in 1958 when she went to see Marty Wilde and this shy guy made his first public appearance and stole the show. Jackie is excited about her forthcoming trip "back home" in April when she will be visiting "Billy’ in Albert Dock.

 A tape message was played from Jean and Albert Jnr, which was really special. I thanked Jean and Albert Snr - without them, there would be no Billy Fury.

 I acknowledged our absent friends before Gordon Fordham (a celebrant friend) stood by Billy and blessed him with a prayer as we bowed our heads. He also blessed fans and friends in attendance, Billy’s family and friends who were unable to be with us.

 The ceremony was concluded with Hands Across The Sea as we all joined Jean and Albert on the big screen as they cuddled at a Billy weekend in Blackpool with fans and friends and sang along with them, united in our love for Billy, Halfway To Paradise. I’m sure Billy was watching over us and smiling. 

 After shared munchies we danced the night away with a set of Billy related songs: Legends Never Die – Laura/ One More Star – Hot Rockin/ Suspicion – Albert/ If You Only Knew – David Broadley/ Endless Sleep – Marty Wilde/ Billy Boy – Janis Martin/ Last Night Was Made For Love – My Little Ray Of Sunshine/ Angela Jones – Michael Cox (Mike sang along with his own song)/ Slippin ’n’ Slidin’ – Dickie Pride/ Break Up – Billy/ Everything I Do, I Do It For You – Our Robbie – who also sang along with his song.  Half an hour of pure good old rock 'n’ roll and a boogie to some of the latest dance music to please all ages. Guests with us to celebrate this special occasion aged between  two and 82. So there was something for everybody.

 Where is "Our Little Billy’"going to be placed? 

Well, I have given this a great deal of thought…..not outside in the cold for the birds to poop on him (as much as he loved birds) not concreted on anything as he has to come with us to every future event in his name.

 thought about various places, then decided that no one loves him as much as I do so he is going to reside in the hallway at our Wondrous Place.

Yoo Hoo!

 Can you please take a seat – that was posh wasn’t it ?

I usually say: "Park yer bums.".

 Thank you for being here today to share this special occasion amongst friends, and to the overseas friends who may get to see the video – I know you are with us in spirit – especially Jean and Albert – Billy’s Mam and brother. I’d like to say to them both – Thank you for your friendship and most of all Thank You Jean and Albert Snr (who I’m sure will also be watching over us today) Thank You for Billy.

 Billy Fury, in my eyes, was the greatest star and Beyond The Shadow Of A Doubt Britain's Gentle King Of Rock’n’Roll.

 They say you never forget your first love.  I was 14 when I met mine, so it’s true, 45 years later, still remembering coz I’m the one who told him I WILL love him till forever – and I WILL.

 Once Upon A Dream, when I first saw that "Wondrous Face’ belonging to Billy Fury on a TV programme called Strictly For Sparrows in 1959.  Little did I know how he was going to affect my life in so many ways – or yours for that matter!

 Through my association with Billy I have made some incredible friendships both here and back "home" where Billy still has an amazing bunch of fans who remain loyal to his memory. It took six years for Billy’s fans ’n’ friends with no help from corporate sponsorships to raise £44,000 which ensured that the 7ft statue of Billy stands for eternity in Albert Dock, in his hometown of Liverpool.  I felt like Cinderella when I couldn’t attend the unveiling ceremony in Liverpool on 19th April on the 20th anniversary year of his becoming an angel.

 I’d like you to see a small snippet from North West Tonight.

 That’s why I am so proud to have our own "Little Billy" here in New Zealand which was carefully carried over to New Zealand by my god-daughter Kate and boyfriend Andy.  Ours may be small but it’s nonetheless sincere. It’s not the size that counts.

 To each and every one of you here today who’s been a part (no matter how small – but nevertheless important) in our efforts over the years to raise a lot of money for charities and having fun whilst doing it to ensure the memory of Billy Fury lives on – I thank you from the bottom of my heart. He’s not dead - his heart just stopped beating. My loyalty and devotion to Billy will live forever - In Thoughts Of You Billy.

 Meeting Billy, after I threw my first week's wages on the stage at the Manchester Hippodrome, instead of the rose, was the start of a beautiful friendship which led me to meet a lot of luvly people ~ one of whom has been In My Dash since those early days of rock ’n’ roll.

  When I started to plan this unveiling – there was no hesitation in my mind as to who I was going to ask to do the honours - It had to be Michael Cox, now known as Michael James.

 Billy and Mike were both from Liverpool. Mike was a star in his own right with numerous hit songs in the 60s and a good friend of Billy’s in those good old days...and that’s why I have invited him to this auspicious occasion today to say a few words about his mate Billy, and to share with me the pleasure of unveiling Our Little Bronze Billy.

 

.

BILLY’S 64th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION IN N.Z.

17th April 2004.

What a fantastic nite we had – with only 3 things going wrong ~ we’ll get those out of the way first.

  1. Our Brian’s ‘Elvis Glasses broke and Trish had to be called late afternoon to open her shop (Let’s Pretend Costume Hire) to grab another pair.

  2. One of the spotlights blew just as the show started.

  3. One of the speakers blew just as Elvis Wotsisname appeared thru a cloud of smoke.

As usual the show was booked out for months prior to the event and in hindsight should’ve done 2 nites and left space for dancing as Robbie, Brian (Elvis W), the music & atmoshphere got everyone wanting to dance and dance they did – in what little space they could find – even on tables!

Sound check out of the way – all a.o.k. the doors opened and it was like a New Year’s Day sale at Harrods – even tho tables had been numbered and printed on the tickets. Re-wind here – when Robbie & Brian were doing the sound check I was checking the video camera before David arrived to take over. The boyz had just got to the line in ‘I Believe’ which goes – ‘Someone will come – to show the way’ and in walked David – carrying a white supermarket bag with his booze in & blowing his nose.

Captured on video. Made me laff anyway!

I just felt sorry for all the people who couldn’t get tickets coz Robbie’s show is B®ILLYant. Everyone laffed & sang all nite.

I started the nite with my usual ‘YOO HOO" speech – why we were here – thanked everyone for their support – dedicated the nite to Our Brian who lost his battle with cancer – proceeds to The Hospice – our next Billy event – N.Y. Eve when we’ll have my Little Ray Of Sunshine to entertain us with his tribute to Billy (I can’t wait)! Finally (says Robbie) I introduced Robbie to the stage, giving him the biggest build up I could muster – Billy Fury Fan Club member 19041940, the one who’s wife uses his prestigeous award as a doorstop ROBBIE ROBSON. Well, little did I know Robbie had a 3 minute lead in of music prior to him appearing on stage. I thought he’d dun a runner! Panic was setting in when….. DA-DA ~ TILL THE MOON DESERTS THE SKY – TILL ALL THE SEAS RUN DRY – MY DARLING (Billy) I’LL ADORE YOU………

Robbie has the most amazing powerful voice (Don’t tell him I said that – it might go to his his head and expect us all to worship him)! He did 4 spots with some great songs and his prowess as a comedian had everyone in fits of laffter. I bet Billy was singing along – coz HE WAS THERE!

The boys got a treat in the shape of Robbie’s Follies in all their feathered glory (Rhymes with Fury) and their sexy dance routine Hanky Panky.

Robbie’s rendition of the story of Cinderella projected spoonerism style which became Rindercella was hilarious. Time for a fag break (another one) and after a few wines with fag in hand siddled up our Principal and announced I was not going out of the school grounds to have this fag –

so ner! He answered back – Well, Christ All Mucking Fighty – Gust Jo then! With then the Chairman of the Board Of Trustees stood up with his fags and said – In that case – I’m tumming coo! Te He! We had regular ‘fag breaks’ – the non smokers had to talk amongst thenselves while the ‘sociable’ ones went outside to satisfy our cravings.

Back to our seats (this is the first Billy ‘do’ I’ve actually been able to sit and watch without having to be up on stage making a fool of myself) and into Robbie’s tribute(s) spot to Neil Diamond, Roy Orbison, Cliff Richard and of course OUR BILLY. Upon asking had he left anyone out and thrusting his pelvis (hint hint), the smoke appeared and so did Elvis Wotsisname looking so real you’d swear it was the real thing. Girls clamouring for XXX’s and scarves as he sang his way thru 15 songs on stage and amongst the audience. Fella’s chucking their undies at him, Moya removing her ‘Billy Fury’ G String and handing it to him with a tag attached – Return To Sender (!) to the embarrassment of My Rachel. That’s wot Mothers are for innit! Although I did spot her (along with every other bugger in the venue) singing that naughty word in ‘Alice’ after Robbie had distinctly told everyone to sing ‘Who The HECK is Alice!!!!! Robbie finished the nite filling his lungs with helium from the balloons, sounding like a cross between Joe Pasquali & a chipmonk singing ‘My Way’ ~ then all up waving arms to our song to Billy – You’ll Never Walk Alone…….and as long as I have breath in my body – HE WON’T.

The show was over all too soon. I went outside to say Ta-Ra to everyone who said ‘What a great nite ~ another success for The Billy Fury Fan Club – WHEN’S THE NEXT ONE?