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John Meads 2014
The "Will o' the Wisps" Concert Party

The Will o' the Wisps Concert Party
This rather poor quality photograph is from the Wellingborough News, Friday April 7th 1922. It is headed "Popular
Concert Party" The names given are: Standing: Mr.G.Butlin (manager), Mr. A.J.Sturgess, Mr. W.H.Perkins. Mr. R.
Hanger and Mr.F.Ashe (pianist). Sitting: Mr.L.Patrick, Mrs. A.J.Sturgess, Miss M.Chambers, Miss A.Loak and Mr. R.Ward

The article goes on: The "Will o' the Wisps" Concert Party, of Burton Latimer, have in a remarkable short time achieved fame. They started in quite a small way, but had such an excellent programme that their fame spread, and their services were soon in demand in the surrounding villages and towns. They have been successful in raising quite a lot of money for charitable objects, and wherever they have appeared, an invitation for a return visit has been extended to them. Unfortunately, they will soon be losing Mr. Butlin, who has accepted a position in London."

Further on in the newspaper this appears: "Will o' the Wisps - The concert party, whose photo we are pleased to give on another page, will shortly be losing a valuable member of their troupe. Mr. George Butlin, who has acted in the capacity of manager since the troupe started , has accepted a position in London, and to the regret of the remaining members, this will necessitate him severing his connection. Mr. Butlin has thrown a good deal of energy into this pleasurable business, and his loss will be keenly felt."

Research so far has failed to discover the nature of George Butlin's occupation, but it is known that he married Avis Loak, another member of the group, in London in 1932 and they returned to live in Burton Latimer at 47 Meeting Lane. Mr. Sturgess was Arthur John Sturgess, Burton Latimer's Registrar and Relieving Officer, and his wife was formerly Eleanor Ashe, probably a relative of the pianist Mr. F. Ashe. Mr. W.H.Perkins was "Billy" Perkins, a former Liverpool F.C. goalkeeper details of whose career can be found here. We have no information at this time about Mr. R. Hanger or Miss M. Chambers. Mr. L.Patrick was probably Len Patrick, who served many years as an Urban District Councillor. Mr. R. Ward was Roy Ward who was well known later as a ballroom dancer.

Further details about the above and a better photograph (if one exists) would be welcomed.

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