Hi everyone - my name is Brian Field and I had the great pleasure back in 1961 to form The Official Helen Shapiro Fan Club with the agreement of Helen and her Manager/Agent at that time of Jean Burman & Alan Paramor (brother of the late Norrie Paramor)
I had previous experience of running fan clubs as in 1959 I was the Secretary of the South of England Branch of The Mudlarks Fan Club. Some of you may remember them, two brothers and a sister, Jeff, Fred & Mary Mudd (yes, that was their genuine surname). They had two very big hits with "Lollipop" and "Book of Love".
I had several friends who worked at EMI Records and one of them, John Schroeder (assistant at that time to Norrie Paramor) of Columbia Records asked me whether I would be prepared to organise a fan club for Helen as her first record "Don't Treat Me Like A Child" had been released and entered the Hit Parade (as it was referred to back in the 60's) in April, 1961 at No 18 and the following month it went to No 3 and stayed in the charts for some 11 weeks. Not a bad achievement at that time for a 14 year old girl ! I said, yes of course and the rest is history.
I could not believe what I had taken on in running the fan club as I was sometimes on average receiving 30 - 60 letters a day. I believe I produced the first newsletter in July/August 1961 and can recall having to obtain the services of friends to hand write the envelopes to send the newsletters to the fan club members. I cannot now recall the overall membership of the club but it was quite considerable. The initial membership fee was 3/6d and then rose to 5/- and for this you received a membership card, signed photograph of Helen and a monthly newsletter.
|I was very fortunate to meet several of the fan club's honorary members such as Cliff Richard, The Springfields, John Leyton, Adam Faith, Craig Douglas, to name just a few. I also attended on two occasions the very popular tv show "Sunday Night At The London Palladium" when Helen starred and could have had the chance to work as an "extra" on "It's Trad Dad" starring of course Helen and Craig Douglas, but I was not able to obtain time off from work as at that time I was working in a Solicitor's office !|
I met Helen quite a few times back in the early 60's and I recall being very fortunate in visiting the famous Abbey Road recording studios in London when she made one of her early recordings.
They were great days and unfortunately it was necessary for me to hand over the running of the club to Malcolm Allen after some two and a half years as I had to devote my spare time to my law exams, so it was with much regret that I gave up being secretary. After a lapse of many years, I discovered that Helen's Friends Club was in existence and I made contact with Gay Wiggins (who had been a fan club member, when I ran the club) and have therefore been able to continue supporting Helen..
I was so pleased to have been able to attend the final Friends Club Get Together back in February last and to meet up again with Helen and to see John Schroeder after some 45 years ! It was also nice in that several people in attendance that night introduced themselves as having been members at the time that I was running the fan club, it was much appreciated. Now that the Friends Club is no longer in existence, I should like to take this opportunity of thanking Andrew for his splendid work with the website and keeping us all updated with the latest news on Helen and also of course to wish Helen every success with her gospel evenings up and down the country.
Photos: Craig Douglas, Helen, myself. John Schroeder, Craig Douglas, myself.
BRIAN FIELD :
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Copyright © 2006 Brian Field/Andrew Earwaker
Most recent revision 10th August, 2006