[A few of the old team are still around, see if you can spot them – FOSTAC and Parish Council Members]
Bowler Hatters 1969 – 1983
After Church Service, a local character and Shalford Church bell ringer, Charlie Thorogood, would visit the George Inn for his Sunday morning pint. Resplendent in his Sunday-Best pinstripe suit and ever the gentleman he would raise his Bowler Hat politely and in customary fashion to each of the ladies he met there.
This simple act by him, led to three of the regulars, together with Les Burton, landlord of the George, joining him in this ritual of gentlemanly conduct. A fund raising venture named “The Ancient Order of Bowler Hatters “was born” and which gave a much needed boost to the lives of the elderly in Shalford in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Soon there were 15 members; Charlie became the first honorary President. The object was to raise money with members enjoying themselves into the bargain, making sure Christmas would be a little brighter for the old folk of the village. The principal method of raising cash was when one of the fair sex entered or left the bar and if a gentleman failed to tip his hat there was a fine to pay. Money was also raised by fining for failing to attend meetings, and not wearing their hats on a Sunday morning.
The 5p fines members paid for not raising their hats were added to proceeds from dances, darts tournaments, discotheques, weekly raffles and other fund raising events. The first year saw 34 Christmas Hampers presented by Graham Bell from Anglia Television with money also donated to the old people and spastic wards at Black Notley Hospital The old folk tucked into sausage rolls and mince pies and enjoyed a drink laid on by landlord of the George Les Burton and his wife Joan.
Other celebrities from Anglia Television who presented hampers in later years were David Geary, Peter Marshall, and Miss Rosalyn
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