TCHS History 1980s

In June of 1980,the Society entered the Thornton Cleveleys Gala with a float advertising the enjoyment of gardening. Mr G R Powney and Mr R Sale were dressed as Bill & Ben, a children’s television program for the very young. Using plastic sheets donated by ICI, where most people at the time worked, the two men were clothed in plastic costumes and stood in plant huge pots. The pair had restricted movement in their outfits and had great fun feeding each other.  They were nicknamed “Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men”

TCHS Gala float - Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men -1980
Gala float in 1980 – Bill and Ben the Trade Hut Men

In December 1980, Mr J D Horrocks was elected Chairman. The local Fuchsia Society was formed in 1981. Membership subs were Patron £2, Member 70p and Senior 40p. A new show schedule cover was designed by Miss Wheatley. The Gala float this year had all garden gear, compost, planters shrubs etc. Sweets were given to the children as the procession wound its way around Thornton and Cleveleys.

TCHS gala float 1982
TCHS gala float 1981. Mr H R Horrocks right with vehicle owner Mr C Windle behind.

1982 A new schedule cover was unveiled, this time drawn by Mrs Norma Wheatley (Show programme 1982)

TCHS Show programme August 1982
TCHS Flower Show schedule cover designed by Norma Wheatley in 1982

In 1982, Life Membership was bestowed on Mr John Wilson. In October, a raffle plant was found to be dead or dying; it was returned and replaced. This year, Society diaries went on sale at 50p each. The Illawalla night club approached the committee with regard to holding the 1983 show in their hall. The Chairman and Show Manager visited the venue and declined the offer, it being too small. Fleetwood Garden Society came on the scene, our two Societies working closely together. Mrs Thatcher was re-elected for a second time. In 1984, the cost of hiring Millfield School was £260.55. A new style of AGM was introduced including social evening. Shell announced in May that petrol would go up 3p to £1.87 per gallon. On April 9th, planning permission was granted to put show posters on lamp posts; they were to go up no sooner than 7 days before and be taken down the day after the show.

In 1985, Wyre Borough Leisure attempted to run their own show, “Wyre Show”, and had 39 classes. The committee noted that it did seem that most of the classes were copied from our show schedule at the time. Wyre Borough Mayor, when presenting a trophy, managed to drop it, causing quite a bit of damage. 1986 The Society purchased a large projection screen to help speakers at the lectures. November 26th, the committee commented that the society was at war with the Council; posters had been placed on community notice boards only for a workman to remove them. Stalwarts quickly re-pasted and replaced new ones. Trade stands were tried at the shows for 1986/87, sited in the school play area by the hall. The schedule cover design changed again, this time drawn by Mr Alan Cross.

TCHS Show Schedule 1986
TCHS 1986 Show Schedule cover drawn by Mr Alan Cross

In April 1987 we were given notice to vacate our wooden Trade Hut. September saw Mr John Wilson celebrating his 25 years on the committee with a dinner at the Ashdell Restaurant. In June, talks got underway to find a new site for our Trade Hut. Members were asked to grow plants for a ‘Plant Sale’ which was a great success.

Chairman, Mr J D Horrocks, drew plans and submitted them for planning approval in 1987. It was granted and approval given to locate the hut just off the main Blackpool to Fleetwood Road, a site behind the bus stop for Blackpool.

TCHS Committee in 1986
AGM 1988 Photo, (L to R) Front row: Mrs Hilda Berry, Mrs Dorothy Horrocks, President Mr Fred Porter, Mrs Anne Howarth, Mrs Carol Maulkinson (kneeling) Mrs Anne Guy, Mr Les Foden, Mrs Lillian Damerall. Second row: Mr John Wilson, Mr E.J.Munton, Mrs Molly Kirk, Mrs Barbara Taylor, Mrs Gillian Redman, Mr Les Foden, Mr Roy Powney, Mr Hugh Horrocks. Back row: Mr Paul Redman, Mr Jim Grice, Mr Terry Wright, Mr John Horrocks, Miss Janet Stirrup, Mr Bob Maulkinson.

The photo above was taken at the 1988 AGM and shows the committee at the time. It had become practice at the AGM was for committee members to bring refreshments for all to enjoy. This year sporting a lovely cake.

1988 The Chairman Mr J Horrocks, drew and submitted plans which were passed by the Wyre Borough Council before work could start. Making way for our new Trading Store, pictured below are Mr G.R.Powney and Mr J. Wilson.

TCHS site of the new trade hut 1988
TCHS site of the new trade hut 1988 – pictured are Mr G R Powney and Mr J Wilson

Where MR Wilson’s car is parked, there was a huge 10+ ton of road scrapings, left by the road maintenance team. The Council inferred that we would have to move it to use the area for parking. Mr Wilson, while clearing the area tossed amounts of cat poo onto the pile. The workers in the building behind, complained about the smell from the pumping station (right of picture) and thought there was a body decomposing. Sniffer dogs were brought in and of course they picked up on the cat poo. The next day the Council sent a digger and removed the pile of road scrapping.

The map below shows the first produce hut at Marsh Mill; the first official Trade Hut and the siting of the New Trade Hut. The map also shows the Little Theatre (Lecture Hall) and Wignall Methodists Church, now Thornton Methodists; the sites of the early two centre shows. On the right is a copy of the approved plan drawn by Mr J Horrocks.

In 1988, the base was laid for the siting of two garages, one single and one double, for our new Trade Hut. Show time in August saw rain pouring through the roof of Millfield School hall; there were buckets on the show benches and water everywhere.

Celebrity gardener Fred Downham, came to talk to us, but the Lecture Hall remained locked; the caretaker had forgotten that we were booked into the room – very embarrassing!  Our Trading Hut was officially opened by President Mr Fred Porter, in February 1989, after a lot of hard work by all concerned.

Top left, President Mr Fred Porter. Top right, Mr John Wilson getting to grip with a cash register Bottom left, (L to R) Mr L Berry, Mr F Nelson, Mrs L M Damerall & Mrs H Berry. Bottom right, Mr & Mrs M Taylor with grandchildren at the opening day.

The metal roof on the Trade Hut, which replaced the traditional corrugated panels came in 21 feet lengths, they were heavy but the team of volunteers managed to put them in place. It did cause some problems with dripping water but ever resourceful, some insulating sheets, provided by Mr P Muncey, were affixed and the cracks were filled with expanding foam. Volunteers were covered with the expanding green foam, much to everyone’s amusement but it successfully stopped the leaks.

In 1989, ‘CATS’ opened at the Opera House in Blackpool in May, Gerry Marsden had a number one hit with “Ferry across the Mersey” and pledged proceeds going to the Hillsborough Disaster Fund.

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