Phil's Sandbach Folk Club Scrapbook (1981/2)

This is a snapshot of folk club history that was originally written in 2005 and should be read in that context. Phil Brightman August 2018

The pictures here were taken mainly to give the club some publicity through the local Sandbach Chronicle paper for which I did a little weekly write up and picture to publicise forthcoming events.

Fortunately I kept most of the negatives and newspaper clippings, although some are missing, and having just bought a new scanner, thought it would be a good idea to put them on a website.

I have no record of the exact dates that the photos were taken but the club in its present form started on Tuesday 27th January 1981 and where there is a date on the Chronicle write-ups it is 1982 so most of the photos are probably taken between 1981 and 1982.

If you have any other material that you would like to be included, send it to me and I will add it in.

Phil Brightman (August 2005)

A dense audience in the early days of the George Sandbach Folk Club Audience

Update 2018 - The George is now Wetherspoons and the room we used to use is now the Gent's toilet !

I have also included photographs and press cuttings prior to "Folk at the George". Before 1981 the format of Sandbach Folk Club was an informal singaround at The Crown with occasional concerts at the town hall. This was organised by Nigel Stonier, Ian "Boot" Ankers, Kevin Fletcher, Dave Hughes and myself. 

In 1981, the singaround had to move from the Crown to the George, but a suitable singaround room was not available at the George so the format changed to the current more formal weekly folk club with guest nights 3 weeks out of 4 followed by a singers night. At the same time, the organisation of the club changed and the running of the club fell to Winston and myself. The room at the George was actually half of the room that we used up to mid 2006, the end that now has the bar in it without the hole knocked through to the other part of the room and without the bar. 

Winston & Phil (Providence Jug Band)

Phil Barklett, Winston Baldwin & Phil Brightman Winston and I first got together in the early 70s at the Crewe "Singout" Folk Club. Winston would grab the first guitarist who walked in the tuning up room and say "Can you play this in E" and we soon started playing together regularly. We were joined amongst others by Steve Green on mandolin and Nigel Stonier on piano to become the "Providence Jug Band"


The first night of the Sandbach club in its present format started on 27th January 1981 at 8.30 with our rendition of "San Francisco Bay Blues"

The picture on the left includes Phil Barklett who added a welcome bass line for a period but found his choice of an Austin Mini for a car to transport his double bass around was not ideal and unfortunately stopped coming after a while.

Winston Baldwin

Sue Wyatt  Sue Wyatt

Sue was one of the first singers that I played guitar for after I moved to the area in 1970. I can hardly believe that it is now nearly 50 years that I have enjoyed Sue’s great voice and, on and off, had the pleasure of accompanying her on guitar. Sue has also supported the club since the early days but missed the opening night giving the excuse that she was busy giving birth to Jenny. Sue continues to sing and play regularly.

Dave Hughes

Dave Hughes

Dave sang on the opening night in 1981 and although he has had a few breaks from playing at the club, is still a regular performer and keen supporter of the club despite having to travel from Warrington. Dave's repertoire includes some great ragtime guitar picking instrumentals and a large selection of Ralph McTell and other contemporary songs which always go down well with the Sandbach audience.


John Stoker

John Stoker was another opening night performer. His rich voice lends itself well to the Ralph McTell songs which form a large part of his repertoire. Often accompanied by Dave Hughes, John has not performed regularly at the club in recent times but at the time of writing has made some welcome reappearances at the club with the promise of more...

Sadly, John died on 2nd February 2013 aged 60.

Pete (Snakey Jake) Johnson

Pete (Snakey Jake) Johnson

Pete Johnson regularly performed at the club with a mixture of country blues, humorous and goodtime songs which always entertained. This photo captures well the usual mood of one of his performances which often ended with a rousing version of “Mama don’t allow”. Sadly Pete died in March 2013.

Adrian Peever

Adrian Peever

Adrian played on the first night and always entertained with a wide range of songs ranging from folk to rock and roll. Sadly for us, he went to study at Miami university and has stayed there both as a student and later as lecturer ever since, occasionally making a very welcome special appearance at the club during his visits to this country.

Andy & Helen Pay (Helen Keay)

Andy Pay & Helen Kier

Andy is a brilliant musician, guitarist and banjo player and teamed up with Helen Keay on vocals to give us some great music. Andy and Helen moved to Cornwall many years ago. Update November 18th (See Guestbook) Helen is singing with a function band and a big band while Andy is "playing for his own amusement". They were married in 1987.

Paula Tindall (Garton)
Paula made the transition from never having sung before in public to becoming a popular and powerful singer in a very short time. Paula sang at the club in the early years, sometimes accompanied by myself and then with guitarist Stuart Tindall to form Dyad. They later married and subsequently moved to Oxfordshire. They have recently started to perform again and have recorded a new CD - see their website here

Paula Tindall (Garton)

Valerie Chardenal

At the start of the folk club, we were fortunate in that we had strong support from a group of French students who were improving their English at Crewe college. Amongst the group was Valerie who sang traditional French songs, often teaming up with Sylvie Alouche and Agnes to form the group “Echec et Mat”. 

Valerie Chardenal When the French students returned to France, Winston and I were invited back to the College Franco Britannique in Paris to meet old friends and to play a gig at the college which we dubbed “Sandbach Folk Club – Paris Branch”.
Pictures of Winston in Paris below

Winston in Paris

Winston outside the Pompidou centre.

Outside the Franco Britannique College in Paris

Agnes, Winston, Valerie, Sylvie and a French friend who drove us down the Paris pavements because the roads were full.

Winston taking extra French lessons.


Valerie and Sylvie found this web site (Adrian told them about it) and have sent their news. Also, Sylvie let me keep the photo above

Valerie: married to Jésus (born in Andalucia, not in a Bethlehem manger), mother of 3 kiddoes (Enguerrand 16, Victoria 13 1/2, Eléonore 11), with a career in financial asset management - in international marketing & sales  for the past 8 years until recently when I moved to a different position, doing internal communication & organisation. We live near Versailles.

Sylvie:-Happily married to a Frenchman – Jacques, one kid, Alexander  ( looks like a Viking) .  

We live in the country, 40 KMS north of Lyon, A lovely area and I work as a language trainer, which I’ve had a bellyful of …………

Ian "Boot" AnkersIan Ankers

Not a particularly good shot of Boot's right nostril but the only one I have! Boot was a keen organiser and supporter of the original Sandbach Folk Club with a wide selection of mainly traditional songs performed with a great voice. Seen here on a rare performance at the George

Sandbach Folk GroupSandbach Folk Group

The "Sandbach Folk Group" (how did we think of that name) performed as guests on the 3rd week of the folk club and this picture was probably taken for the occasion.

 Myself, John Stoker, Nigel Stonier, Sue Wyatt and Joyce.

Nigel StonierNigel Stonier

Nigel was another organiser and keen supporter of the "old" folk club and has made some rare appearances since. Multi-talented Nigel has always been passionate about his music and is now having some well deserved success as a producer / singer / song writer. See his website here.

Steve Molineux and Rich "3 balls" Taylor

Rich and Steve used to give impromptu performances of their fire-eating, juggling and other acts in local pubs around the area so we invited them to perform at the George. This was a night with a difference and was hugely enjoyed by all. Sadly they also moved out of the area, Steve moving to Australia.

Rich 3 Balls TaylorRich 3 Balls TaylorRich 3 Balls Taylor



Guests, Kinesphere were the residents at Macclesfield Folk Club and were guests on the opening night of the Sandbach club, and several times afterwards. They entertained with a range of well known songs and produced a lively atmosphere. Sue Capper (far right) still performs at the club from time to time with Dennis Quinn.

Graham Cooper

Graham Cooper

Graham Cooper was another popular guest who always gave a very polished performance of mainly contemporary songs to guitar and piano accompaniment. Graham gave an excellent last performance at Sandbach in May 2010 and then returned to Portugal and died a few days later.

Gary and Vera Aspey

Special guests, Gary and Vera entertained to a very high standard on more than one occasion with traditional folk songs, working songs, vigorous story telling and humour.


Vera Apey Gary Aspey



Crisis gave such a solid performance that we had to turn the room round after complaints from the bar that the zob stick was causing problems by reverberating throughout the public bar underneath. Crisis performed good time stomping music, blues and humour.


Andy Caven

Andy Caven

Andy was one of the first guests ever to be booked unseen and proved to be worth the risk as he entertained with a lively set of songs, ending the night with a jam session playing a selection of Buddy Holly numbers. Andy has returned to the club several times since and always entertains. 

John James

John James

John James was one of the biggest names booked by the folk club and broke all records. The audience were queuing up the stairs at 8pm and over 100 people crammed into the small room of the George. John gave a brilliant performance from the few square feet of space left at the front of the room, with his usual virtuoso guitar playing mixed with his own brand of Welsh humour.

Rod Eccersley

Rod Eccersley

Rod supported the club both as a floor singer and as a guest singing a range of mainly contemporary style songs to a high standard.



Stoneground were another band to appear regularly at the George,and often said that the club had one of the best sympathetic  audiences for trying out new material with. The talents of Dave Walmisley (centre) produced many fine songs and he later returned to the club with Plan B and Risky Business.

Newspaper Cuttings 1981/82

Newspaper Cuttings (pre '81)

Here are a few clips from the pre-1981 club which as well as having a singaround in The Crown, put on concerts in Sandbach Town Hall.

The text reads "Sandbach Folk Club held its first major concert at Sandbach Town Hall on Saturday and it proved to be a great success. Pictured above are the group Strawhead and Manchester singer-songwriter Graham Cooper, who provided the entertainment." The picture actually shows myself, Nigel Stonier, Kevin Fletcher, Sue Wyatt, Ian "Boot" Ankers. I can't remember who the chap in the glasses is.

The text reads "Smiles from the Folk Singers who entertained members of Sandbach Folk Club and townspoeple at a concert at Sandbach Town Hall on Saturday. Allan Taylor was "in concert" with the group "Oak Apple" with support from local singers".

Top left to right - ?,? Phil Newton, Nigel Stonier, Myself,??

Bottom left to right - Allan Taylor, Sue Wyatt, Ken Scott

Ken Scott, Nigel Stonier, Ian "Boot" Ankers, Sue Wyatt, myself

"OakApple" was a group put together by Ken Scott especially for the night. It was slightly disconcerting to hear him introducing members of the group to each other an hour or so before the concert but all went well on the night. Ken was a keen supporter of the singaround club and concerts and more recently appeared  with Calico Jack as a guest at the club. Sadly, Ken died of cancer in 2001.

Christmas 1979


There was a time when the folk club singers went around the Sandbach pubs singing Christmas Carols.

Above: Sue Wyatt and Nigel Stonier possibly in the Crown or the Tavern

Right: Alice, Landlady of The Crown in the '70s