West Runton Pavilion & Cromer Links

North Norfolk's Legendary Live Music Venues of the 1960s, 70s & 80s

2006 REUNION

The 2006 West Runton Pavilion and Cromer Links Reunion was held in the marquee at the Lighthouse Inn, Walcott, on Saturday 14 October and was attended by an estimated 200 people.  Dave McNeir of Moods Disco provided the music, which consisted mainly of songs by bands who had played at the venues, and he provided interesting snippets of information about some of the appearances.  Tony Spencer and Alfie Hall, formerly of local band Spencer's People, who appeared at the Links several times in the early seventies, gave an impromptu performance of 'Georgia on my Mind'. 

The evening also incorporated the launch of the book about the venues, 'WHAT FLO SAID', written by Julie Fielder, who presented copies of her book to the former owners and others who had made a special contribution.  The full text of her speech, with photos, is included below.  Julie sold and signed copies of her book and at times the queue reached almost to the door of the marquee.  Those waiting were kept entertained with a slide show of all the photos Julie had been given access to during the course of her research.

Julie's husband, Steven, presented her with a bouquet of flowers and told her that the whole family were very proud of her achievement.

Book Launch Speech

Over the next 10 minutes or so I'd like to launch my book 'What FLO Said'.  I've never actually launched a book before, so please bear with me.  I've only seen the Bridget Jones one, and hopefully I can improve on that.  I'm not sure if I have to cut a ribbon or break a bottle champagne over it...   This whole thing has been a steep learning curve for me, as it has for the publisher, Phil Stewart of Edition Books.  A few months ago his company was known as Edition Magazine and they published magazines, publicity leaflets and menus, which they still do, but he has now ventured into book publishing.  I would like to thank Phil for taking this on.  It was a bit arduous at times, we spent ages discussing where to put commas and whether words like 'blood-bath' should be hyphenated, but we got there in end.  I would like to present him with a token of my appreciation for all his help. 

I don't want this to turn into the Oscars but there are a few people I'd like to mention.  First and foremost, my husband Steven for his support, both moral and financial, and our sons Jake, Bruce and Freddie for their tolerance and not minding too much if their tea wasn't always ready.  I'm sorry for reading this but I don't want to miss anyone out.  In case I do, I'd like to start first by thanking everyone who contributed in any way.  Even if you only rang me and said you went there, if you gave me your name, you're probably mentioned in the book because basically it is your book.  Without your input it would have been a very small volume.  I think me and my Dad would have filled about three sides of A4.

Every contribution was important although some went above and beyond the call of duty.  I don't know if these people are here, but I'm going to name-check a few:  Rob Aherne and his mate Paul Life for their detailed reviews of mainly punk gigs at West Runton Pavilion, and John Bowen and Martin Bean who sent me pages and pages of lined A4 with their handwritten reviews.  I also had meetings with, and phone calls and e-mails from, Colin Woodyard, Bob James, Colin Cross, Joe Barber, Richard Fryer, Kevin Norton, Jumbo, Danny Hagen, Neil Pitcher and many others.  I'm grateful to all who shared their memories.

If I spoke to you on the phone or we used e-mail and haven't met, please come and introduce yourself and say hello, it will be nice to meet you and put a face to the name.  If we've previously met and I can't remember your name, please don't be offended, I have met a lot of people over the past year and it's nothing personal.

 

There is a slide show running on a half an hour loop, showing photos from last year's Reunion as well as all the photos I've been given access to during the course of my research.  There were over 300 and unfortunately there wasn't room for them all in the book, but you can see them here tonight.  Thanks to all of you who have loaned slides, photos or negatives, in particular John Wells, John Lawson, Chris Hare, John Lemon, Ronnie Carroll and Steve Popey.  Also to Kelvin Rumsby for lending me his video of the demolition of West Runton Pavilion - he happened to be passing with his cine camera at the time.

I have tended to include snapshots from personal collections which wouldn't otherwise be seen anywhere else rather than the signed photos and promotional posters which lots of you had.  These were very useful, often containing details of singles, band line-ups and so on, but I didn't use most of them in the end, mainly because I couldn't afford to get sued by some big record company like EMI over copyright.

I should also thank Alan Hooker, who I met last year early on in my research and who helped verify lots of the West Runton dates; Elaine and Neil Morrell, who proof read the book for me; and Raymond Froggatt, who provided a moving tribute to the two venues and to the people who went there.

There are a few people here to whom I'd like to present a copy of the book in recognition of their special contribution.  We all owe a debt of gratitude to the former owners.  I wouldn't have contemplated this without their support and they have given me interviews, memorabilia and information.  Unfortunately Frank Boswall, the former owner of West Runton Pavilion, can't be here tonight, but he rang me from his office in West Runton, in front of where the Pavilion used to stand, and he sent this message:  'I hope everyone has a wonderful evening, like they used to down here.'  I will get a copy to him but meanwhile I'm pleased to say that Rod Blow and his brother Nigel Hindley, from the Links, are here and if they'd like to step forward I'll present them with their copies.

Some of you might be wondering about the meaning of the title.  Well, when you buy your copy it's all explained in chapter 6!  I will just tell you that 'FLO' is an acronym standing for 'Fab Links Organisation'.  This was a phrase coined by Rod and Nigel in the late '60s.  Ian Foster, who worked at the Links, designed the pot-bellied rock monster who featured in the weekly adverts on the back page of the North Norfolk News.  The character became known as 'FLO' because he would have a speech bubble which read 'F-L-O (Fab Links Organisation) says don't be late, see you at 8,' or there would be a joke about the band name or whatever.  People would look at the back page of the paper each week to see what 'FLO' said.  He was a poignant symbol of Links and I'm grateful to Ian Foster, who is coincidentally also known as 'Flo', for letting me use his creation.  I asked Ian whether he could think of any ideas for the cover and if I could use 'FLO' on it.  He got back to me almost immediately and said there was only one possible design.  He said: 'Imagine you are standing in the crowd, about 15 rows back, and 'FLO' is on stage.'  I thought it was a brilliant idea.

Once Ian had had his idea, I talked it over with my youngest son Freddie and we came up with the final design, which became a reality thanks to my middle son Bruce who spent hours on his computer producing it for me.

There are a couple of other family members I have to thank, and they are my parents Jean and John Mason.  Dad always seems to have the knack of doing the right thing at the right time.  He is currently a driving instructor and my eldest son, Jake, passed his test last year.  The two others are coming up to the age when they hope to be able to take driving lessons with their Grandad, which is very handy.  When Steven and I got married, Dad was a wedding photographer and had some useful contacts, and when I was 12  and into pop music, the top 40 and glam rock, Dad happened to be working on the door at West Runton Pavilion and because of that my friend and I were allowed to go.  It made a deep and lasting impression on me as on many of you.

For Terry Bunting, it was the Links that influenced him.  Terry has an incredible memory for detail, a vast knowledge of music, he kept scrapbooks of the time and I am very fortunate to have had his help in this project - he gave me interviews, tips and advice, and he proof-read the book for me.

[Terry had been delayed and was given his book later]

Before I present the last book I'd like to give it a bit of a plug.  It is a limited edition.  The cover price is 14.99, but you can buy it tonight for 12, which is a 20% discount.  In a few minutes Freddie and I will be selling copies.  I'm happy to sign them for you and will write a dedication if you would like one.

Steve Bullimore has been brilliant, he's a lovely chap.  Eighteen months ago I'd never met him.  I put a letter in the paper, handed out a few leaflets and got a fairly limited response.  Then I had a phone call from this chap who said 'I've got a marquee, would you like to hold a Reunion in it?'  It was inspired.  Over 200 came and it generated a lot more memories than just speaking to people one-to-one.  At the end of the night he said, 'Would you like to hold another one, or you could launch your book here.'  I took him up on his offer and once again he has provided the marquee and disco.  I think he is considering making it an annual event, perhaps in the summer, so make sure you check his adverts in the local paper.  He is a very generous, lovely bloke, and his memories are in the book.  The Links meant lot to him, I hope I've done justice to his memories, and to all of yours.  Can we have a big hand for our host, Steve Bullimore.

It just remains for me to say, 'I declare this book officially open, God bless her and all who sail in her.'   

Thank you.  Have a good evening.   

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