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.|