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2024 UK Convention


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Leave ‘Em Laughing Gravy

It is no easy task organising a Laurel and Hardy UK Convention, but that was the challenge for the Laughing Gravy tent as they undertook to host the 2024 Convention in Birmingham. John Ullah and Mandy Finney rose to the challenge and everything was falling nicely into place at the tail end of 2023.

But then, just before Christmas, things were falling apart when the manager of the hotel that they had booked told them it had to be cancelled. It could have been a catsafterme, but remarkably
with less than six months to go, John and Mandy found the Arden Hotel in Solihull, an ideal and impressive venue.


Unfortunately, illness and unforeseen circumstances, meant that about ten regular attendees hadto cancel at the last minute. This included Willie McIntyre, the only Son who had attended the previous 41 UK Conventions, who always writes the Convention report. Hence for this 42nd (Street) event, the author is Mr Pseudonym.


In a nutshell, the Convention was FANtastic and FUNtastic. There were the normal fun activities of eating, drinking, laughing, drinking, quiz, drinking, coach trip, drinking, fancy dress, drinking, games, drinking, films, drinking, entertainment, drinking, Sons Entertain, drinking, raffle, dealers’room and of course, drinking. But to be fair, as many of the Sons are older (but not necessarily wiser) a lot of the ‘drinking’ is now tea, coffee, or soft drink.


Sons from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, and Bill Oates from America (in the state of ‘Indiana Wants Me’) – had the time of their lives.


There were some very different ingredients for our Solihull extravaganza including the steel pan music of ‘The MightyJamma’ who had a thousand people on the dance floor (well maybe it was slightly less than that but it seemed like that number), our visit to the lovely Birmingham Hippodrome, a remembrance of The 100th birthday of Tony Hancock, the special Brummie ‘Charlie’ awards and the rather intimidating Peaky Blinders theme.

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At the closing Grand Sheiks meeting, a unanimous vote and the pineapple was passed to Dave
Ballard and John Burton Jnr for the 2025 UK Convention in Harrogate. After our final anthem song,
we had to leave ‘em laughing gravy***

*** I hope the Harrogate hotel manager does not do any plug pulling at the last moment.

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* Fancy Dress Winner - Craig Lightowler (dressed as car from ‘Our Wife’)

* Quiz Team Winners - Marc de Coninck/Joris Laroy (Belgium)

* Robotic Dancer - Iain Wilson (alias Columbo)

* Sons Entertainer Debutant - Gavin Baldwin

* £600 raised from raffle/donation for Sandwell Young Carers

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Our photos by

Gary Winstanley

and Julia Barlow

We just wanted to thank you all for making our 42nd Meet so much fun.  We had a great time, and that is thanks to the spirit and friendship that only the Sons can bring.
Thank you for all the laughs and for giving us such great memories.
Hope to see you in Harrogate next year.  Remember, you took an oath!

“That’s all there is.  There isn’t any more”.

Best wishes,
John and Mandy
BS:  Many of you commented on how good the hotel and staff were.  If you use TripAdvisor it would be nice if you could give them a good review.  Thank you.

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Dirty Movie - "42"

Dirty Work Pictures presents an extra special Dirty Movie, dedicated to the 42nd UK Laurel & Hardy Convention in Birmingham.


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