The special day I met Frankie Vaughan in Chichester

Look Back Crawley Boys Club'Frankie Vaughan 1958
Look Back Crawley Boys Club'Frankie Vaughan 1958

A piece in the Observer’s Nostalgia pages last year caught the attention of Anthony Preston, who writes:

“Imagine my surprise when I read ‘Reports from 50 years ago’, and came across the piece relating to Frankie Vaughan’s visit to Chichester at what was then the old Army and Navy store in East Street.

“I was a young lad a few days short of 16 and was there at the time, having been swept in with the crowd, and having no idea why they were flooding into the store. Then I saw Frankie Vaughan and next to him Basil Shippam (a ‘true gentleman’ of our city), who saw me at the same time and drew me out of the crowd to introduce me to the star.

“I was a boxer at the time, my father being the trainer, at the Chichester Boys’ Club (both the club and boxing still going strong), and the Sussex and Southern Counties champion (later a British quarter-finalist and thus just missing representing GB in the Olympics the following year of 1964).

“Frankie Vaughan was a strong supporter of British Boys’ Club and was pleased to meet a member – Basil Shippam supported our club and knew the boxers by first name.

“We shook hands while a press photographer (the Observer, I assume, as they reported the event) took a photograph of the handshake.

“Mr Vaughan’s hands were quite large and had he not been a singer he may have made a good boxer. In his other hand he held a very large cigar. There were, of course, big rings on his fingers.

“Sadly I have never seen that photograph and often thought about that occasion and how it might have come out. I am not certain if Mr Shippam was in it, I hope so. As it will have been exactly 50 years, and my birthday week, it would be a great gift to see that photograph, and if it still exists, have a copy. It would be interesting to see my 16-year-old self, as I do not have any photographs of me from that period. I know my mother kept a press cutting scrapbook but it was lost long before it could have been passed on to me.

“If anyone can help, please contact me on 01243 607628.”