Remembering Ken Dodd

Courtesy Shropshire Star

How many of our viewers / users remember that ‘Doddy’ visited Wollerton back in Jan 1972 – to present a ‘Perfect Pub’ award to the erstwhile Squirrel Inn?
The picture below was used by the Shropshire Star last week in their ‘Pictures from the Past’ item and is reproduced here courtesy of the Shopshire Star Newspaper.

Do you recognise anyone? maybe the photo includes you? – in either case we’d be pleased to hear from you with any further information / reminiscences. Contact us using this form
In the meantime, the webteam contacted Steve Howell-Jones, the then licensee of The Squirrel, and who is still ‘of this Parish’, and he kindly provided some further information for us:

I was fortunate enough to win the Perfect Pub award for 1971 having taken over the tenancy in 1969. The whole idea was sponsored by the Shropshire Star and promoted by Shirley Tart, one of their reporters (still going strong!). I was told by her there were 104 entries that year, the highest ever.

Ken Dodd was appearing at the Granada Theatre in Shrewsbury that bitterly cold January day and having rehearsed his act in the morning, went on to sign books at a shop in Shrewsbury before coming to The Squirrel to present the award. He spent ¾ hour in the bitter cold, signing autographs for the kids and mums who gathered in great numbers to see him, after which he came inside and did an impromptu ‘stand up comic routine’ from behind the bar.

His entourage included Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson (the British entry singers of the very first Eurovision Song Contest) an ITV television crew (who were filming ‘a day in the life of’ type programme), staff of a woman’s magazine, and others. The pub was packed to the gunwhales and after an hour he went outside again and continued to sign autographs. Truly a real professional.

He then went to appear in an ice cream commercial, before dashing back to the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury for a quick kip before his appearance at the Granada Theatre. He told me this was a typical day!