Sunday, 6 February 2011

Father Bill Shergold and The 59 Club

Today is the 52nd birthday of the 59 club


A couple of years ago I was sitting in the office when the phone rang. This is, it has to be said, a pretty common occurence in a newspaper office. It could be anything, from a dull conversation with a politico to a tin-foil hatter giving it loads about the trained monkeys that come to his house and steal his shoes for the Government.

On this occasion it was a softly spoken elderly gentleman.
He said his name was Father William Shergold, who wanted to know if we would to put something in the paper about a TV series he'd just done a piece for. Pretty standard local paper fare, to be honest.
"The programme is about my involvement with a youth club back in the 1960s. I was a bit of a celebrity back then I suppose," he said, and laughed, softly.
As a commited devourer of everything motorcycling related I said: "Not Bill Shergold? of the 59 club?"
"You have heard of it? Oh, how splendid."

Later that day I went to meet Father Bill, and got a look at his mountain of  papers, photos and newspaper clippings. We chatted a lot, and "Farv" let me take away a few items for scanning, and we did a big spread on Father Bill and the 59 club.
He gave me a copy of the TV programme and I bunged it on Youtube.



I popped round and saw him a few times after that but a few months later I got an email from the a club member who had kept in contact, who told me that Farv wasn't very well at all.
I visited him in hospital and the old boy was pretty much done in. He died in hospital in May 2009 and was given a good send off by the 59 and 69 clubs at his funeral.

What happened to his Archive, I have no idea. His sister took it over, and his house was renovated. I hope the papers are out there somewhere.


Here are some of the pictures I scanned from Father Bill's collection.


Farv during a run to Blackpool

Oh Lord, help me get the Castrol R out of my Cassock....

Farv introduces himself to the Rockers at the Ace Cafe

"What you rebelling against, Reverend?"

The 59 club club house in Plaistow

Farv on the Honda 750 Bought for him by the 69 club

Birth certificate of a legend


Blessing the bikes
I'm not a religious man, But I did think this was rather cool
This was a Giles cartoon done about the Rockers going to church. Farv had the original hanging in his house.

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