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PostHeaderIcon The Re-Union Gig Weekend

A full account follows the Photo’s

Giving the Bench to Christies HospitalThursday 22 June Attended by Jean and Brenda Smith, Paul, Sue, Terry, (fresh from Dubai) Derek and Derek’s mate Gerry. The Christies appeal Team , Lesley Birkhead, Jacky Plant, Lousie and Roy the gardener who will look after the bench for us.

Pictured (L to R) Sue, Paul, Jean, Derek, Brenda, Terry and Roy the Gardener



Paul & Terry assemble the bench


Members of the Band with Jacky Plant


Brenda and Jean

The bench in position


Friday 23rd June – The Bimmie!

Nice greeting from The Holiday Inn



Part of Sue’s Storyboard displayed around the Soundhouse






Fantastic Iron Maiden Portrait painted by Ann Wright, bought for £100 by the Soundhouse – Sag also made a massive picture from the original, by making A3 copies and linking them together to form a 3ft x 4ft picture. (subsequently given to Derek – who would be willing to part with it for cash to our charities!)



Kathy Lands a punch – Kathy (O’Neill) Jones and Christine Walker managed to secure many wonderful items for the Auction – seen here with a signed glove and signed poster from friend Amir Kahn.


Paul & Sue with Ruth Hardman of Cancer Research, who was there representing the Charities.


MC and Auctioneer Stevie Mathews with Dan Collins. Steve you did a brilliant job helping raise over £3000 on the night.


Beaks Guitar – Centre Stage where it belongs


Dan – Doing his stuff!


The Band – working well together! after 32 years and 5 rehearsals


Derek concentrating – complete with new guitar new amp and new strides!


Rachael and Victoria – added not only Vocals and Sax – but a little bit of glamour and class! – something always lacking with the BIM!


Terry Willis – ready to do his stuff fixing Pauls cowbell. “It’s like riding a bike” says Terry


BIM’s youngest fan George – very sensible ear defenders – “I predict a Riot”

As Promised – Here is Paul and Sues account of the week of the BIMMIE


Wednesday 21st June 2006– this is a long one -but quite important

Paul and Sue drove up to Lytham St.Annes, complete with group gear, to stay with Julie (sister) and Steve (auctioneer). This was to ensure an early start for the Presentation of the Bench, which was currently residing in two bits with Sculptor Tom Dagnall and the Paul Hampson in Preston.

Had a great night Steve created a Good luck card in the form of an “Iron Maiden” from which a skeleton popped out saying “Good Luck” (he’s very artistic)

Thursday 22nd June 2006

Left Julie and Steve’s and called in to see Mum (Lorna – the lady who cared for all the stalls and George all night at the BIMMIE – what a lady!).

Drove to the hotel in Bolton – The Holiday Inn on Higher Bridge Street – which actually was the site of St.Mary’s RC Primary School – which was attended by all three O’Neill Children – Leanne, Carol and Paul – the front of the hotel is St.Mary’s church –which is sacrilege to me – this was the church I grew up in, was baptised, confirmed etc. I dreaded seeing it – but I was strangely comforted when I saw the same familiar building and stained glass windows. It was OK-I felt that this was meant to be for this “coming back” to 30 years ago for Beak. We dropped off our luggage and was given a room in the old Priests house to store the group gear, then we walked into town to see our friends from the Bolton Evening News – Kat Dibbits and Wes. Kat in particular has been an absolute gem during this past year, and Wes was an (old) friend from the Iron Maiden Days – It was Wes’s wife Anne (another fan) who did the wonderful painting of the band – now bought by the Soundhouse.

From there we drove back to Preston to meet up with Paul Hampson at his Nursery in Bretherton, who had by now picked up the bench and packed it together ready to take to Christies. Then we tried to find our way to Manchester along umpteen motorways, but actually made it to Christies in good time before the 3-30 presentation. On the way had a phone call from the BBC, asking if they could do an interview tomorrow morning at 9 in Manchester – of course we could. Then rang Dan and Derek to make sure they were free –they were!

At Christies we first met up with Terry who two hours before had landed from Dubai, where he lives and works – especially for this weekend. Then Derek and his friend Gerry landed, and finally we met Beaks sisters Jean (who I had not seen since the early 70’s – but had not changed a bit) – and Beaks sister Brenda – who we have been in close contact with since we lost touch – but found her again through the Bolton Evening News. The Appeals staff, Jackie, Lesley, and Louise made us very welcome, and helped to carry the pieces of the bench across the road to the hospital, where Paul with help from Terry assembled the bench in the beautiful garden. Head gardener Roy gave the bench pride of place. Photos were taken, lots of laughs and smiles, the bench looked amazing, thank you Tom, and thank you Paul Hampson for introducing us.

I took off for a moment to reflect why this particular moment had happened – when Beak was very ill and being treated in Christies Mrs.Smith said it was lovely there in the garden, after he died she and Mr.Smith (we never called them by their first names of Edith and Tom – too disrespectful) said they would like to buy a bench in Ian’s memory – and give it to the hospital – It never happened – but I’ve finally carried out their wishes – and it feels great!

Then back to Bolton where Paul Terry and Sue wandered around all the pubs in town putting up posters and handing them out. Went to the Soundhouse to check everything out and met up with owner Trevor and Mags. Then a bite to eat, and wait for Dan to arrive – he did at 11 pm and he MADE me stay up till the wee small hours drinking and relaxing.

Friday 23rd June 2006 THE BIMMIE

The day had finally arrived – and a great start to the day – going to do a radio interview and getting some publicity for the gig.

I remember at the BIMMIE – doing my little speech getting a bit choked – not because of Beak but because of the picture in my head of Sue coming into the studio about 14 months ago saying;

“It will be Beaks 30th anniversary in June 2006 – why don’t you aim to get the CD done and out by then and perhaps do a launch or something on the day”

Well, what a roller coaster those past few months have been – making the CD from Sag’s and Paul’s old tapes, getting together with (the other) Iron Maiden and getting their blessing and backing for the CD – most importantly – recognition of Beaks life work, we have pulled all this together with help from our wonderful children and our wonderful friends – now here we are in the car, Derek, Dan, Terry, Sue & me on the way to the BEEB to do an interview with a band I never thought could exist again. I really was on a high.

The Radio show was with Eamonn O’Neal and Diane Oxbury. Went very well and generated another £120 for the charities.

Derek went off to buy new strides; Terry Dan Paul and Sue went to eat at ASDA then went back to the hotel for the gear. Sue went to the Soundhouse, to decorate the interior with all the wonderful “storyboarding” she had made from Press cutting s and old photos, set up the Memorabilia stall, raffle stall and laid out the Auction items. Paul went back to the hotel, got the gear and set up.

The place looked brilliant when Sue had finished. Paul had some problems with the PA – but Trevor pulled it off and got it together with the help of a last minute Sound man Joe – who under great pressure at least managed to get a good ‘front of house’ sound.

Rushed back to the hotel with people arriving already, to get the girls and try to get a shower and change. Met up with Dan’s Mum and Dad who had come down from Newcastle (On Tyne) for the gig.

Sound check at 5pm. We got back to the Soundhouse with the girls and Dan in tow; Paul picked up Ian Frost a friend who had travelled from Bedford to see the show. Mum and other family members arrived, Nigel and Sue Catterson our lovely friends arrived from Carlisle came, said hello, and instantly went on the door for us – bless them! Derek rolled up with a brand new Bass rig – very nice too! Of all of us Derek put the most effort into getting back into playing , buying gear and learning to play again – Well done you!

Sound check was OK but no on stage monitors – “well this is Rock n’ Roll” says Derek – who needs monitors – never had them with Maiden” He was right of course.

Sag arrived late – having unfortunately lost his Mum that week – not unexpected – but still a tragedy for the family. He set about putting up the massive BIM backdrop banner on stage, which he and daughter Chloe painted, put up a screen for the video, and screwed a cradle to the ceiling for the DVD projector. He also managed to add some blown up pictures to Sue’s display, and also brought a massive blow up of the front of the CD – which Derek is now the proud owner of.

We were amazed at the folks who turned up – Paul had four friends from school , friends from Child hood – Carl and Francis, Kev, Tom and Rita, Paul’s old flame Noelle with beautiful daughter Jenny alongside, so many faces – so many forgotten names – this was perfect!

Very late start for Kyle Southworth’s band Mismatch, followed by support band Phantom, both bands were brilliant considering the time restraints both were under.

Sadly the late running night meant the Auction that Steve Mathews presided over, did not have enough time to complete, the raffle was a very rushed affair – we had over 30 items to raffle and over 40 items to auction – only one raffle prize was missed and we have now given this to our local Cancer Research Shop. Steve not only did the Auction – at the last minute – he said “do you want me to MC? – Of course we did- Steve is just so talented as a performer and actor – he just did it all and took a lot of the pressure that was destined for Sue and me – Our grateful thanks to him.

Then around 10.20pm Steve announced the launch of the Album Maiden Flight – Sound man Joe hit the button and Cracked Path burst onto the PA at the same moment Sag started the DVD – especially re-edited by Channel 7 films in Cambridgeshire – our grateful thanks to Lindsey Townley for all his hard work on that (Paul was so fussy – Lindsey had to re-edit it twice – always with a smile!)

Around 10.30pm Paul took to the stage to say a bit of a speech he’d prepared – but was instantly upstaged by daughters Victoria and Rachael- who made a lovely speech thanking Sue and Paul for all their hard work on behalf of the charities. – Definitely brought a lump to our throats! The girls and son Matt, son-in-law James and Vic’s boyfriend James have been fantastic throughout the past year with help, ideas and just support for Sue and Paul.

Finally Paul said his bit to remember Beak and thank Brenda and Jean for being there, – and Steve placed Beaks Gibson SG Standard centre stage – a fitting reminder of the talent he was, for Sue this was the most emotional part of the evening feeling that Beak was there on stage with them (probably sitting on the speakers watching every moment). Then, as the DVD carried on playing – the band took to the stage and whizzed through the set – the audience appreciation grew with each number. Half way through – Paul and Sue presented a cheque to the Cancer Research Representative – Ruth Hardman.

It was a performance Paul, Derek and Dan will remember for a long time – very emotional from Paul and Derek’s perspective – He could see all those familiar faces dancing away with enormous smiles –Derek’ Tom – looking like he just may dance, Dave “drum solo” Riley at the front with Dylan looking as if he was still working the Iron Maiden Light show, Paul, Gill and the girls, – Kathy O’Neill (now Jones) – minus floppy hat – begging “do a drum solo for me”, Sag dancing – but this time with a bunch of smaller Sags and a Mrs Sag! Paul’s cowbell falls off – and look…… there is Terry putting it up again – Paul nearly cried when that happened.

It was all as perfect as it could have been – a lot of careful planning, careful preparation and attention to the small things had paid off. – but… with a bit of the old spontaneity too!

Paul and Sue were there till 1-30 packing things away but still very happy, soaking up the occasion and atmosphere – then back to the hotel for the first drink of the day – a burger from Sizzles, and bed at 3-30am. Sue HAD to do a bit of a count up and we had £2999.00 Paul threw a pound in the bag and went to bed happy.

Saturday 24th June 2006 THE BEAK TRAIL

Dan and his family left early to fulfil an engagement in Cambridgeshire.

Met up with everyone at the Brooklyn pub at 12-30, we were supposed to have a drink and move on, but everyone was so relaxed and enjoying each others company we stayed and had lunch there too.

Thanks to Dylan for coming up with the idea and putting the Trail together. There was Dylan, Heather, and Josie Wood, Judith and Scott Holland, Sag, Terry Willis, Brenda and Jean Smith, Paul Fox, Derek and friend Gerry, Rachael James and George Victoria and James, Paul and Sue. Sadly, our son Matthew and girlfriend Lisa had to leg it back down South to Cambridgeshire and missed the event.

The itinery was – 12-30 Meet at the Brooklyn – leave the cars there and walk down Green lane to the Bus Terminus, where we used to CARRY OUR GEAR on and off the bus for rehearsals

On to 353 Green Lane – the Smith Residence where we all looked up at the attic where we learned to play and write. Then on to Ian’s grave at St.Michael’s church – in remarkably good condition and well kept. There was a wedding on at the church – which gave the whole place a nice atmosphere – Brenda and Jean laid flowers, Paul as always – wanted to say a few words, one or two folks shed a tear. Then on to the Greyhound pub on Manchester Road – which was the venue for Iron Maiden meetings and chats about the future- a nice end to the BIMMIE.

Paul and Sue had to head off to cousin Billy’s wedding and said their farewells – but not before Dylan and Derek had broken into folk songs – as they do!

That night the family and friends went to Pizza Express for a meal then back to the Hotel for a few drinks and bed.

Sunday 25th June – The Validectory

Most of us were up for a swim in the morning – with grandson George getting very independent and swimming like a fish!

Terry got a 2pm flight back to Dubai – what a week he had!

Rachael James and George packed the car and headed home,

Sue, Paul, Victoria and James went up to Horwich for some breakfast and get them off for a few days holiday in Blackpool, Paul and Sue bought flowers and took them to his Mum and Dads grave – it was Paul’s Mum’s 30 anniversary of her death this year too – so that made it extra special. Over to the hotel and packed the gear –then to the Sound house for the bits we had left – said a fond goodbye to Trevor who had done so much to help us make this weekend one to remember, and got home in time to watch the England Match at 4-15pm

Went to church, then to Frankie and Bennies for some tea, where Sue wrote these notes for the weekend on a long receipt.

Thank you all for making Ian’s 30th anniversary just – wonderful

Shall we do it again ????

Love to all of you

Last Updated (May 30, 2013)


Bolton Iron Maiden

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