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Colin and Owen RIP

I’m greatly saddened to have to tell you that the Chumps have lost two stalwart members in the last couple of weeks; both Colin Watling and Owen Haley have passed away.

Colin Watling was a real character and so much fun to be with. I did know he had not been in the best of health, but the news came as a real shock. I never got to really know him properly until I travelled with him to the 2023 Laurel and HarDay in Wigan, but the six hour return drive passed so quickly, we laughed so much.

Colin was rarely seen without his beloved Laurel and Hardy cap, and one of the last times we saw him, he had donated his prized copy of Randy Skretvedt’s ‘The Magic Behind the Movies’ to our raffle and he was genuinely delighted when Gary Dent won it.

Colin’s funeral is on Tuesday 14th May, St Nicholas church, Hedworth Lane, Boldon Colliery at 1:30pm.

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Laurel and Hardy had a big place in Owen Haley’s heart and over the years he accumulated a great deal of memorabilia, joining the Chumps a couple of years ago, attending our meetings and the annual pilgrimage to Ulverston.

Here he is, top left, belting out ‘We are the Sons …’ in July 2022 with the rest of us.

Owen played local football, and was often in the Sunderland Echo for scoring goals, even though he was a centre half!

His funeral has already taken place, but it’s wonderful to know that the walking out music chosen by the family was ‘On the Trail of the Lonesome Pine’ – a fitting farewell to a great bloke.

I’ll say a few words at next week’s meeting for both Colin and Owen, but if you get the chance, please raise a glass to our Friends.

Rest peacefully Colin and Owen. You will be missed.

 Mike Jones

Intra-Tent Journal

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Harry Hoppe
I had the pleasures of having Harry Hoppe stay with me for a weekend in March. We squeezed in a lot during his stay including a visit to Ealing and London to see Fred Karno and Laurel & Hardy related statues/sites/buildings/plaques. I also took Harry to see the collections of Ray Dempsey and Paul Allen. Harry did try to strangle both Ray and Paul, but they survived. Harry will be coming to the UK Convention so do be aware that he may strike again!

 Roger Robinson

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First clean of the year for Stan and Ollie

The statues in Ulverston are cleaned twice a year by specialist cleaner Shane.


The first stage of the clean is a bath! They get shampooed and dried off, then a special wax is applied all over using a soft brush. The wax is then heated to make a seal. This protects the statues for the summer season.

Shane then returns in September to perform the same process but with a little more wax to protect them through the winter months.

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Our Relations

We spotted an unusual poster for Our Relations on Facebook.

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Southend-on-sea Film Festival
Southend has two annual film Festivals, the Horror-on-Sea Festival in January, and the main Southend-on-Sea Film Festival in the early summer. I always present a Laurel and Hardy show at the main festival, but this year I thought I would theme the presentation with Stan and Ollie’s  ‘Horror’ films.


The festival is staged at the Park Inn Palace Hotel (where L&H stayed in 1952) and includes an excellent variety of films over four days. All films are shown in the ballroom at the hotel.

On Sunday 10th June, it is the Saps At Sea meeting at the Navy and Military Club a few hundred yards away. So maybe you might like to make a bit of a L&H weekend and so you can catch some films and come to the Saps meeting. Here is the link to the hotel, where you can stay at a reasonable price, and see details of other films being shown:-

 Roger Robinson

Drink up!

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...and finally

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