29th November 2015

An announcement from the Rotary Club of Rochdale East

The Rotary clubs goal of providing a Hansa 303 dinghy for limited mobility and disabled IMAG0234_(1)sailors at Hollingsworth Lake took a further step closer recently as our Club President, Graham Knox, along with club members, Bob Brierley and Len Albon collected the dinghy from the manufacturer.

Pictured is Graham and Bob preparing to transport the dinghy back to Rochdale.

For more details about ‘Gracie’, named of course, after Rochdale’s very own Gracie Fields, please click on the link Rotary logo below >>>

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News regarding ‘Riders to the Sea’, a film Gracie funded, with a link to watch a new re-mastered version of the film online >>


10th December 2014


Stage One of very exciting plans for Rochdale to commemorate their greatest export Gracie Fields: The Gracie Fields memorial stone has been moved to accommodate road works.




Gracie Fields double bill
28th February 2014

Gracie's name up in lights again !

Gracie’s name up in lights again !

Chris Webster, John Taylor, Shaun Hewitt and Seb Lassandro

Chris Webster, John Taylor, Shaun Hewitt and Seb Lassandro

I asked John if I could have a photo taken of me shaking the hand that held Gracie's. During the 'shake' John also pointed out it was also the hand that passed her her teeth ! A privilege none the less.

I asked John if I could have a photo taken of me shaking the hand that held Gracie’s. During the ‘shake’ John pointed out it was also the hand that passed her her teeth ! A privilege none the less.







Ready for afternoon tea

Ready for afternoon tea



they were queueing round the block !









Spot the mistake !

Spot the mistake !

The trip was worth wile to see and hear Gracie sing 'Love, Wonderful Love' alone.

The trip was worth while to see and hear Gracie sing ‘Love, Wonderful Love’ alone.


Exciting News of ‘NEW’ Gracie recordings

uvbh copyRecently, via contacts made through this site, Seb Lassandro became aware of the existence of a collection of over 80 Gracie Fields test pressing 78 records. After dealing directly with the owner, the entire collection has now been purchased by one of our team. (There are only two recordings which the original owner did not want to part with, as they hold sentimental value. But they have graciously loaned us the discs to take copies of, with the assurance that they will be returned safe and sound).

This is a very exciting find for us here at Gracie HQ. 

Now that we have taken physical possession of the discs we can be sure of the contents, and it is safe to say that there are some extremely exciting, brand new and never-before-known about recordings existing on these discs, which cover live shows, studio recordings and even interview discs.


This is a remarkable Gracie Fields find to rival the ‘lost’ recordings recently ‘discovered’ in a garage, and we will present more information about them very soon.

Just our Gracie 37These new discoveries continue to help form a collection of test pressings we are amassing  Last year, Seb bought a complete Fairy radio show from 1937, containing entirely unissued material. eBay and record fair finds have also turned up alternative takes and recordings of a number of Gracie’s HMV, Rex and Decca recordings -well over 20 in total.

However, we DO know of the existence of a few live broadcasts and test pressings which have “slipped through the net,” so if you think you have any which we may not have, please DO get in touch and we will be only too happy to come to some arrangement! donate rare ‘lost’ recordings to archive

Today, have donated the audio recording of many ‘lost’ Gracie Fields TV appearances to the Kaleidoscope Archive. And whilst they were never ‘lost’ to Gracie collectors, they are listed as ‘lost’ in the BBC and ITV archives.

Sadly, the original footage has long since disappeared, but the foresight of Gracie collectors in the 1950s and 1960s to record the audio from the original broadcasts has meant that 60 years later these recordings can not only be enjoyed by Gracie enthusiasts, but television archive companies – and even the BBC and ITV themselves, who have also now received these ‘lost’ audios.

Our Gracie contributions include:

  • Sunday Night at the London Palladium -25/09/1955
  • Val Parnell’s Star Time -03/05/1956
  • The Old Lady Shows Her Medals -04/11/1956
  • Sunday Night at the London Palladium -1956
  • Sunday Night at the London Palladium -1956 (different edition)
  • Sunday Night at the London Palladium -1957
  • Southern Rhapsody-30/08/1958 
  • Showtime -13/11/1960  
  • The Anniversary Show – 11/09/1965   
  • Applause, Applause! -20.08.1969
  • A Gift for Gracie -25/12/1970
'The Old Lady Shows Her Medals'

‘The Old Lady Shows Her Medals’

'A Gift For Gracie' - Gracie and Brucie

‘A Gift For Gracie’ – Gracie and a much younger Brucie

Chris Perry (Kaleidoscope spokesperson) said, ‘The recordings of Gracie Fields returned to the BBC and ITV via Kaleidoscope, include the very first Sunday Night at the London Palladium making this collection extra important within the context of the history of television.’ kaleidoscope-events copy

The Kaleidoscope Archive (new website launching Dec 2013)

The footage found in their archive has frequently turned out to be unique and unobtainable elsewhere. Their Lost Shows radio/TV soundtracks campaign has so far yielded priceless recordings of Ernie Wise, Dick Emery, the Beatles, Muhammed Ali and Benny Hill to name but a few, which are held exclusively by us….and now, Gracie Fields!

They also house the largest collection of TV continuity in the UK .

Every year material is returned to them and made available to the BBC and ITV.

“Who knows which collections will come into Kaleidoscope in 2014-2015?”

This material is transferred from many obsolete formats and put onto hard drives or DVCam tape.  It’s a unique archive – and has begun to be seen wider in shows such as The Untold Tommy Cooper, Goodbye Granadaland and Morecambe and Wise – The Whole Story.


One of our team gives a talk to The Rotary Club of Rochdale – plus news of a Gracie memorial ! – plus a press release from The Rotary Club Rochdale Town Hall – 5th December 2013 Last night, Seb spoke to the two Rotary clubs of Rochdale, who are both currently involved in different Gracie Fields projects. The Rotary Club of Rochdale hosted the evening at Rochdale Town Hall, with over 60 guests in attendance, including Barbara Lloyd, marketing manager for Link4Life; Councillor Richard Farnell and Julian Jefferson, Head of Arts and Heritage in Rochdale and Link4Life.   Julian and the team at Touchstones had created a display for the event, charting Gracie’s life in photographs to be on permanent exhibition in one of the Town Hall’s ground floor rooms. This, Rochdale Rotary, hoped to be the starting point of a growing exhibition for Gracie by Rotary over the coming months. It was announced at the event that Touchstones will be displaying some of their Gracie memorabilia, including the silver tea service presented to Gracie from her ‘Rochdale Friends’ in the 1930s and the 1978 Royal Variety Kaftan. These will be on display from April next year in an exhibition about donations to the collection.

Gracie taking tea with Mayor and Mayoress of Rochdale

Gracie taking tea with Mayor and Mayoress of Rochdale

Rochdale Rotary East also announced their plans for a granite tribute to Gracie in the local memorial garden, facing the Town Hall. An estimated £6000 needs to be raised by June 2014, and it was announced by the President of Rochdale Rotary East that a £2,500 donation had been received that day. The granite statue will take the form of a 7ft obelisk with carvings of Gracie adorning the faces.  –We are in touch with the planners of this and will update you with a feature on this site very soon.

The Gunn portrait now back on display in the Mayors Parlour

The Gunn portrait now back on display in the Mayors Parlour

After a great meal prepared by the staff at the Town Hall, (cowheel pie followed by jam sponge), Seb spoke for 45 minutes on Gracie’s return visits to Rochdale –featuring rare sound clips of performances in Rochdale, speeches and Gracie talking about her home town. Although there was some initial trouble with the CD player, the show went on! The speech was well received with feedback from people who remember some of the events Seb spoke about –including one gentleman who shared a BOAC flight with Gracie to Tehran (via Rome) in 1951. At 3 years old, Gracie told him to come and sit on her lap for the duration of the flight.


ROTARY Club of Rochdale Press Release 

Gracie Fields & Rochdale

Sebastian Lassandro, President of the Gracie Fields Appreciation Society, has unveiled a new display about Rochdale’s famous singer, Gracie Fields, outside Committee Room 4 on the ground floor in Rochdale Town Hall.

This display is available for anyone to see, without charge, by asking at the Town Hall Reception Desk.  It was erected by Julian Jefferson, Head of Arts and Heritage at Touchstones Museum who also have a display of memorabilia about “Our Gracie”  and will be mounting a further exhibition called “Legacy” in May 2014 which will feature Gracie Fields The Rotary Clubs of Rochdale and Rochdale East have projects to raise the appreciation of Gracie Fields in Rochdale. They hope to erect a memorial to her in the memorial gardens opposite the Town Hall and also hope that the public who have letters, papers and artefacts relating to Gracie will donate these to our Charitable Trust Company. When we have sufficient exhibits we hope to create a permanent exhibition in memory of this great singer within the Town Hall where she appeared and sang for her public many years ago. We are also seeking any Rochdale people who would like to be involved in this endeavour to form a “Gracie Fields Group”. Members of this group will be “Friends of the Rotary Club of Rochdale” with specials interest in Gracie Fields. It is open to men and women of all ages. If you want to join then please contact Rotarian John F Kay either by email to or telephone him on 01706-767409.  Further information can be found on the Rotary Club’s website  


BBC’s ‘The One Show’

Seb Lassandro and Victor Astle from our team went to Sheerness, Kent yesterday (17th July) to film a segment about Gracie for BBC 1’s ‘The One Show’. We have no idea as yet when it will be transmitted, but you can be sure we will let you know in plenty of time. 995400_10151555576884366_570116083_nThe venue for the filming was ‘The Criterion’, an old Music Hall which was partly destroyed by a bomb dropped from a zeppelin in WWI. It has now been renovated and turned into a tea-room, museum and music hall/cinema So the crew arrived and walked right past Seb with a brief ‘Hello‘. They thought he worked in the place and that he wasn’t the person they’d been ringing all week (I think it’s to do with his age!). After re-introductions and apologies, they started to set up the area, Angellica Bell, the interviewer, starting with ‘Why Gracie Fields? It’s weird’, (cheek). They filmed for well over an hour, though the whole thing is going to be around 7 minutes  after editing. The other part of the ‘One Show’ segment will be an interview with nonagenarian William Sunnock who was a pen friend of Gracie’s for many years after writing to her from his orphanage in the 30’s.   They were impressed with our website and mentioned it often! and were grateful for the information they had gathered from it. (You’re welcome BBC). – Victor Astle

saers copy‘Miss Marple’ I can’t tell you how excited I was to finally get to see the ever elusive photo of Gracie in the first ever on screen portrayal of Miss Marple, in the 1956 adaptation of Agatha Christies ‘A Murder is Announced’. Here she is seen questioning Jessica Tandy and Roger Moore who is showing her the murder weapon. – Shaun Hewitt