LOOKING BACK - July 2 edition

Charlie Chester in Rugby, 1975
Charlie Chester in Rugby, 1975

Charlie Chester in Rugby, 1975

This is a picture from the Rugby Advertiser in September 1975. You might recognise the man in the centre as the comedian and radio personality Charlie Chester. The child he is holding was Alison Carless.

Our story says that thousands of bargains were snapped up by eager shoppers when the Rokeby Lions tin sale opened the previous Thursday.

And by midday on Friday, the cheap groceries were completely sold out, a day and a half earlier than expected.

For the Lions it was a great success, raising more than £700 towards a Charlie Chester home for a disabled Rugby person.

To get proceedings underway, Charlie himself opened the sale at the former Civic Shop in Church Street, and presented a cheque for £50. Shoppers crowded into the building and loaded up their baskets with tins containing everything from baked beans to cat food.

The prices ranged from 5p to 50p and represented some big savings. One housewife estimated that she saved as much as £1.76 1/2 on two dozen tins.

As well as the cheap prices the big attraction was Charlie Chester. Many people went along to hear what he had to say about the scheme. One pensioner, who has been a fan for many years said: “The cheap food was a surprise extra.”

The Lions were hoping to raise the rest of the money with a boxing night on October 6 and nativity float at Christmas. Rugby is the first town to have taken up Charlie’s idea of providing a specially equipped home for a disabled person and the celebrity was more than impressed with their efforts.

He said: “The Lions have done a marvellous job. Other towns will get to hear of Rugby’s achievement and will want to follow.”

The idea of the tin collection was the Lions’ own brainwave and it has proved a great success. More than 7,000 tins of groceries were collected from Rugby homes.

Club president Eddie Clark said Rokeby Lions had also been raising money in other ways to pay for the £2,500 home and it was hoped to have covered the full cost by December.

The story said the home, which may be sited at Abbotsbury Old People’s Home, will go to 61-year-old Mrs Agnes Caldecot of Wentworth Road, who suffers from multiple sclerosis.