Alan Wright - Stan was smashing

APPROPRIATELY for the current season, I had a good rush of Hartlepool Easter egg nostalgia in the sunshine near Sedgefield last week.

The link between the two was Liverpool comic Stan Boardman, who was entertaining at the Lobster Festival at Hardwick Hall.

There was a strong Hartlepool contingent in the audience of nearly a thousand in the monster marquee.

If you’ve never been to one of these events (they do an Oyster Festival in September too), it feels quite surreal.

It begins late morning and goes on till early evening, but all sense of time disappears.

With stage lighting and non-stop live music, the sunshine becomes a surprise when you step outside for a breather and your body clock can’t understand why it’s not midnight.

Mr Boardman was on good form though, as he admitted himself, some of his gags were the reason why we don’t see him much on TV these days!

In his maturer years, he does a good set on the confusions of modern life and still finds time to reflect on what the Luftwaffe did to his beloved chip shop.

Seeing Stan in action took my mind back to an evening in Hartlepool’s Borough Hall at least 20 years ago.

I was compering an evening there at around this time of year which explains why one of the charity auction prizes was an Easter egg about the size of me.

The bidding went very well and local accountant Keith Thomas came out on top.

Stan Boardman was behind the curtains ready to start his act, so I invited him through to make the presentation.

As you may know, it takes a while to adjust your eyesight from the gloom of backstage to the full glare of lights in your face.

As Stan made his entrance, he was dazzled by the lights and the reflections in the cellophane around the monster egg.

He walked through it, knocking it over and smashing it to smithereens.

Most of the audience didn’t notice the awful result because of that same dazzle.

Keith was thanked for his generosity and we enquired what he was planning to do with the prize.

“I’m planning to break it up and share it with my wonderful staff,” replied Keith.

“We’ve done it for you,” said Stan, holding the shredded creation up for view.

Spanning those two decades and more between the Borough Hall and the Lobster Festival were two marked characteristics of our patch.

We know how to party, and, better than most regions of England, we know how to be generous in support of a good cause.

A good sum was raised for the Lord’s Taverners’ charity for youngsters who really need some help.

It will be the same but different on September 16 when Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet fame is the headliner and, as far as I know, he doesn’t do a German chip shop song!