Charlie Williams opens Birkenshaw Show

The newly opened Clifton interchange on the M62 back in 1973.
The newly opened Clifton interchange on the M62 back in 1973.
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WORLD famous comedian Charlie Williams was in Spen back in 1973 opening the Birkenshaw Show.

Speaking in his famous Barnsley accent Charlie crowned the show queen Carol Rodgers of Drighlington, saying: “Na then mi old fruit, that crownd!”

Angela Sparling plays cowgirl at her family's farm in Gomersal

Angela Sparling plays cowgirl at her family's farm in Gomersal

As ever, the show drew crowds from miles around, and despite the unseasonal ran, organisers said attendances were more than 18,000.

One of the highlights was a daredevil performance by Mike Blondini who was placed in a ‘coffin’ packed with 12 sticks of dynamite.

His first attempt to wow the crowds was something of a damp squib however, as the rain caused a fault with the electrical equipment.

But never one to disappoint the crowds, he tried once again and this time there was a huge explosion and Blondini was sent hurtling out into the showground arena, with only a crash helmet for protection.

Comedian Charlie Williams crowns Birkenshaw Show Queen Carol Rodgers n 1973.

Comedian Charlie Williams crowns Birkenshaw Show Queen Carol Rodgers n 1973.

Ten-year-old Angela Sparling was proving to be something of a cowgirl. Angela of Hunsworth Lodge Farm in Gomersal, was quite at home on the back of her pet cow Curly who she had been riding for about eight years.

It all began when her father went out into the fields to bring in the cows for milking. Angela would follow behind, but when she got too tired to walk any further and wanted carrying, her dad put her on Curly’s back.

Curley was a very obliging pet, even lowering her head so that Angela would get a foothold and climb up her neck and then on to her back.

She never bucked and even allowed Angela to ride her daughter, but Angela preferred Curly.

The M62 is arguably the busiest motorway in the country and is rarely out of the news.

But journalists could have easily found themselves referring not to the M62, but the Central British Motorway instead.

The idea had been mooted by Brighouse and Spen MP Wilf Proudfoot and was raised at a press conference in Cleckheaton to mark the official opening of the Chain Bar section of the M62.

It was performed by Keith Speed, the Parliamentary under-secretary of State, who – although he had reservations about the name – said he was open to the suggestion if that was what people wanted.

“The last thing I want to do is to name it the Central British Motorway and then find out if dies after three months.

“If this is the way people start to talk about it and there is a natural acceptance we won’t wish to discourage it.

“It would be wrong to artificially give a name that is never going to commend itself to the people that use the road.”