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Some of theSons posed at the Laurel and Hardy statue in Ulverston

Centenary celebration


The premier of Gary Winstanley’s movie Laurel & Hardy’s Road to Laughter was held at the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston on 7th August.


It had a very enthusiastic reception, befitting the hard work which Gary and his team had put into making the landmark documentary. It was also the first major event of the year in the calendars of the UK Sons of the Desert, not to mention some honoured overseas visitors.


The event celebrated the centenary of the first coming together on-screen of Laurel and Hardy.

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Brats Tent of Sheffield


We had a fantastic evening on 9th August  at the Harlequin. Thanks to Liz and Pete for their warm hospitality.

Our Grand Sheik Heppy was at the forefront of our thoughts and we shared silly memories of him. A fez was placed on a table in his memory and he was the first person to be toasted... twice in fact, as I had forgotten to click the record button on my phone for the first one - Doh!

We couldn't help thinking that Heppy was there with us, being mischievous, as earlier in the day the projector broke and then during the meeting the speakers broke too... however, we persevered and had a fantastic time.

As it was our first meeting since the full easing of restrictions, to celebrate we held a free raffle with a prize for everyone.


 John Burton 

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John Burton Jnr and “Heppy” on Shefffield Live on television, during the UK Convention in 2015

Beau Chumps Tent of Sunderland

The Beau Chumps Tent held their first meeting of 2021 last night and a swell time was had by all. We’re already looking forward to the next one on Weds 8 Septober.

‘Do Detectives Think’,’Twice Two’ and 'Chickens Come Home’ were screened, we had a mega-raffle, feasted on Hard-Boiled eggs and nuts and toasted our heroes.

 Mike Jones 

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Southend on Sea

Film Festival


One of the annual events in Southend-on-Sea is the Film Festival, which usually takes place in May, but interrupted by Covid in 2020 and May this year, is now scheduled for September. Film Festival organiser, Paul Cotgrove, has put together a cracking five day programme. 


As well as film classics, there are premieres and films with local connections. Of particular interest to Sons of the Desert are the two film presentations about early comedy films, one with silent films and live piano accompaniment, and my usual Laurel & Hardy slot, but this year with many special contemporary guests on screen!


Also on the Sunday is a WORLD Premiere documentary film ‘The Louder You Scream, the More We Show’, a 90 minute tour of Fairgrounds and Amusements Parks hosted by our late great friend, Roy Hudd.


But take a browse of all the film showings as the website for the Southend-on-Sea Film Festival is now live (Well done Vanda) and that tickets are now on sale. There is still some information to be added to the website but at least the tickets are on sale.




 Roger Robinson 

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On the telly


On the Talking Pictures TV channel


Monday 16th August 

Do Detectives Think? at 1.35pm


Tuesday 24th August

Block-Heads at 4.50pm


Wednesday 25th August

The Music Box at 7.55am


Saturday 28th August

Them Thar Hills  at 9.00am


 Peter Jones 

Tony’s project

Tony Bagley has been busy writing a book about his lifetime experiences as a worker with Tarmac squads. With Tony’s unique humour and his great illustrations, the book is sure to be a winner.

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Some of the vintage comedy movie stars Tony has drawn in the past

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My Friend Stan racehorse


Michelle and I are visiting My Friend Stan's stable in a few weeks time so looked at the website of the trainer Julie Camacho. This is what is said about her


Julie was born and bred into racing. Her grandfather, Charlie Hall, began training in 1942. Charlie Hall was Champion Jumps Trainer in 1955/56, winning the Champion Hurdle with Doorknocker.


You don't believe me!

 John Burton 


...and finally