The meeting was opened promptly at 1030 a.m. by Chairman Richard Wright with two apologies having being offered. A letter from last week’s Speaker Mr Mark Smith was read out which expressed his thanks to the group for the warm welcome and positive feedback to his talk that he’d received and also his gratitude for the generosity of £145 raised in the collection taken at the end.
Before today’s talk Tom Snelling shared an anecdote with members, totally inappropriate for a Church Hall!!, but very funny and enjoyed by the audience.
Today’s Speaker was our own Frank Ellis, our longest standing member of over twenty five years and a veteran of many talks mainly on music hall/entertainment. His talk today was entitled “Tom Who?” and he shared the life story and reminisces about Tom Mennard, an English comedian and actor who had a long career in variety, radio and television. His comedic style was stories as opposed to just jokes.
Mennard was born in Leeds in 1918, the son of an undertaker, and left school to work for his father always claiming that being an undertaker gave him his sense of humour. He moved to Brighton where he worked as a bus driver, became involved in amateur revue and attracted the attention of singer Donald Peers on whose recommendation he obtained a B.B.C. audition. He also auditioned for the Windmill Theatre and afte two rejections was accepted to do a road sweeper routine. Other work followed including Harold Fielding’s “Music for the Millions” where he worked with his idol Rob Wilton. Subsequently he became a regular on Mike Craig’s Radio Show in Manchester where he reached a wider national audience. His radio work included his own show “Local Tales”. Some film and T.V. appearances were also made and in 1985 he joined the cast of Coronation Street playing the role of Sam Tindall alongside his real life dog Dougal.
Mennard died from cancer in 1989 at the age of seventy one.
Forum Members enjoyed the morning’s entertainment provided by Frank and the Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty seven attendees was given by His Honour Judge Derek Clarkson.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY