Croppers Journal, Newsletters & What’s Next
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Friday 24th of August 2018
Thanks to everyone who came along last
night to help celebrate the Croppers 33rd
Birthday at the Star Inn, Roberttown.
It was a lovely evening where we were
entertained by Kootch (Beth Aveyard &
Dean Lilleyman). Their mixture of
traditional and contemporary folk went
down extremely well with the audience.
The first half started off with Eric and after
the interval for food and a gossip the
second half got off to a good start with
Dave giving a good selection from his vast
repertoire of songs.
Dear fellow Cropperites,
At the present time the advice from the government regarding the COVID-19 virus
pandemic is ‘carry on as normal’ unless having symptoms. BUT as a large number of
the Croppers regulars are aged 70 and over, and therefore classed as ‘at risk’, at some
point in the very near future they will have to ‘self isolate’ whether they have symptoms
or not. That includes myself and Geoff.
There is also a certain chance that all pubs, restaurants etc will have to cease business
for the duration very soon which of course includes The Star and therefore the
With this in mind and with a heavy heart we have come to the difficult decision of
temporarily closing the Club until safe to reopen. Let us hope that this is not too long an
This notice is also on the club website but as not all of our regulars are on Facebook
and not many folks check the website we would appreciate it if you could pass it on to
anyone you know who doesn't have access.
Our very best wishes to you all, keep on singing, playing and smiling. Maybe I (Eric)
will even manage to learn some new songs whilst confined in that little room under the
Eric, Carol, Geoff & Tilly.
Friday 11th of August 2017
The Croppers celebrated their 32nd birthday with a party and concert featuring the
legendary Dave Burland and the very talented singer songwriter Alan Wood.
Dave gave a masterclass in the art of understatement as he had the audience
enthralled with his oh so laid back performance. A message here for all those ‘here
today gone tomorrow stars’ who think that shouting their performance is the answer.
Alan’s set was a mix of his own thoughtful and moving songs and one or two covers
performed in his own individual style ably accompanied by his exemplary guitar playing.
We should be seeing much more of Alan in the area - club organisers please take note!
All tickets were sold in advance for the concert and the room was full to a comfortable
capacity. Pat & Hans were not able to attend due to illness and they were sadly
missed. Do hope to see them back soon.
Lovely also to see Peter and Margaret after their long exile from the Croppers and look
forward to seeing them more often from now on.
The buffet, as always, went down well (literally) in the interval thanks to Carol, Tilly,
Geoff and Jill who had been busy preparing earlier in the day.
Thanks too to Ian, John and the bar staff at the Star for their hospitality every Friday
night. Their coffee and tea delivery service up those steep stairs is greatly appreciated
by quite a few of the Cropperites.
Finally thanks to all you faithful regulars who keep the Croppers going every Friday
night with such a variety of musical styles and verse. We’re not really a Folk Club but
just a Club for Folk.
Malcolm Bentley – sadly missed at the Croppers
It was Malcolm’s funeral last Tuesday after he sadly died the day after Boxing Day
2016. We were very grateful to have become good friends with Malcolm over the past
15 years and very pleased when he decided to give the Croppers the benefit of his wit
when reciting poetry, stories and jokes. We never knew what was coming when it
reached his turn on a Friday night. One minute we were roaring with laughter, the next
holding back a tear. He switched from ‘naughty boy’ with a twinkle in his eye to reciter
of serious poetry (some by his late wife Margaret) and often burst into song.
Those who remember him at the Croppers will recall a real gentleman of the old school
who always had a smile on his face but was not afraid to speak his mind if needed.
What stories he had to tell about his life which was crammed with achievements and his
travels but never in a boastful way, always understated.
Quiet often he would read out stories or jokes that were sent from his friend Bonye in
the USA by email. Most of them he kept until after the ‘watershed’ but with Malcolm
reciting them no one was ever the slightest bit offended. Some of you will remember
Bonye from the times she came along to the Croppers during one of her visits from the
States and although an English Folk Club was alien to her she always entered into the
spirit of things and told a story or two. Carol and I have kept in contact with Bonye by
email since Malcolm was no longer able to keep in touch with her himself and a few
days ago she sent us the story included below. It seemed fitting that Eric read it out at
the Croppers last night in memory of Malcolm and the happy times we shared in his
company. It was a privilege.
Eric & Carol 21st Jan 2017
It’s entitled A RETIREE’S LAST TRIP TO COSTCO!!
Yesterday I was at Costco buying a large bag of Purina dog chow for my loyal pet,
Necco, the Wonder Dog, who weighs 191 lb. I was in the check-out line when a woman
behind me asked if I had a dog.
What did she think I had, an elephant?
So because I'm retired and have little to do, on impulse I told her that no, I didn't have a
dog, I was starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because I
ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an
intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.
I told her that it was essentially a Perfect Diet and that the way that it works is, to load
your jacket pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel
hungry. The food is nutritionally complete so it works well and I was going to try it
again. (I have to mention here that practically everyone in line was now enthralled with
Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.
I told her no, I stopped to pee on a fire hydrant and a car hit me.
I thought the guy behind her was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard.
Costco won't let me shop there anymore. Better watch what you ask retired people.
They have all the time in the world to think of crazy things to say.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Croppers Christmas Party on Friday 16th December 2016
Thanks to everyone who came along last night to the Croppers Christmas Party and
made it such a lovely evening. Special thanks to those who performed and to Tilly, Pat,
Jill and Carol for providing the buffet. Thanks to Tilly and Geoff for keeping a tight rein
on the club's finances especially as we pay for the use of the room at the inn where
there is always room, unlike the one in Bethlehem. Thanks also to Dave who runs the
club evenings when we are away.
Moving the club to the Star at Roberttown was a gamble that we are sure has paid off
and we look forward to many evenings of good entertainment throughout 2017.
Contrary to public belief I (Eric) am not a total Scrooge/Grinch and did quite enjoy
helping Carol with the creating of the decorations for the evening but please don't tell
anyone as I don't want to affect my "Bah Humbug" street cred.
I think we might keep the 'your song is too long' flashing lights for future club nights and
maybe enhance the idea with exploding candles on the offenders tables. It's only a
suggestion I might add but it could add a bit of an edge to the evenings!
Best wishes to you all and we hope to see you all again from the 6th of January. Eric &
The Croppers 31
Birthday Party/Concert on Friday 12
Thanks to everyone who made last night at the Star such a great evening to celebrate
the clubs 31
Birthday. The room was quite full with 43 in attendance.
Whitney Gin returned to the Croppers after a few years absence and gave us 2 x 45
minute spots of music and song from many eras and genres which meant there was
something for all to enjoy. Not too sure about the jokes though – they never change!
David Lindsey and Dave Everett provided excellent and contrasting support before
and after the interval during which everyone tucked into refreshments and bought raffle
tickets. Many thanks to Carol and Tilly for the catering and to those who donated the
many raffle prizes. Sorry we didn’t manage to win a box of Jill’s home made cup-cakes!
Special thanks to Pat for making all the Croppers Favours that were also passed
1st April 2016
Thanks to the wonderful 40 folks who turned up to launch the first Croppers night
at the Star in Roberttown. What a happy atmosphere in the lovely upstairs room that
was soon ringing with the sounds of talented musicians, singers and poets. Long may it
continue to do so and thanks
also to Ian and John for
letting us have the room at
The Star and those who
couldn't make it for the
evening but sent 'good luck'
and 'see you soon'
Don't forget that the pub does
great meals but be warned
that as all food is prepared to order allow plenty of time for a meal before the club
starting time of 8:30pm.
25th March 2016
Sadly the last night for the Croppers at the Black Bull, in Birstall. We heard only
last Friday night from Mel that the pub was closing and was to be boarded up on Easter
Monday the 28th of March. A very sad time for the Croppers regulars who will always
have a fond place in their hearts for the Black Bull and some lovely memories. We wish
Mel all the best for the future and thank her for the welcome she gave the Croppers and
for all the hard work she put into the pub to make it such a special place.
The Croppers was packed last night starting promptly at 8:30pm and it was a wonderful
heart warming affair which reminded us how proud and humble we feel to be involved in
The Croppers. So much support from some wonderful folks and also many kind
messages and calls during the day from those who couldn't make it tonight.
We found out on arrival that the owners cannot board up the windows because the
building is Grade 2 listed so at the very last minute they are putting in a temporary
manager for 6 weeks who will take over on Monday. What happens next - who knows.
Mel is still having to leave so we decided to uphold our plan to move to our new venue
on Friday the 1st of April. A terrible shame that Mel and this lovely old pub has
been treated so shabbily.
After nearly a week of
researching suitable venues,
and with much support from
Tilly, Geoff, Jill and Dave along
with suggestions from friends
of the Croppers as to where
we could go (!) we settled
upon The Star at Roberttown
which ticked as many boxes as
possible. We now look
forward with positivity to the
next stage in the Croppers
evolution and hope to see you all there as often as you can.
With humble thanks, Eric and Carol.
24th July 2015
It was the Croppers 30th Birthday Party and Concert and we had a splendid evening of
entertainment from BADLY STRUNG (Beth & Pete Aveyard) and BLACKWATER (Ruth
& Tony Dargan) with support from Dave Everett and Eric Johnson. Mel the landlady of
the Black Bull laid on a delicious buffet served as if by magic without disturbing the
performers. Well done Mel and her team for making the Croppers feel so welcome
every Friday night. Don't forget that you can always enjoy a meal at the Black Bull on a
Friday before coming upstairs to the Croppers at 8:30pm.
2nd January 2015
The first night for the Croppers at the Black Bull, Birstall, and what a memorable
evening it was with a large turnout to help celebrate the move. The club had been
running originally at the Black Bull from 1985 until 1996 so quite a few of our regulars
found it an emotional occasion. Thanks to Mel at the Black Bull Inn for allowing us the
use of the upstairs courtroom every Friday evening. The Black Bull is a warm and
welcoming traditional pub with fine beers and meals.
20th December 2014
The last ever Christmas party and last evening at the Priory in Cleckheaton and
many of our regular supporters came along to mark the event. The club has been
running there for 18 years since 1996 but circumstances meant that we had to move
on. Many thanks are due to Helen and Mark (and previously Helen's parents, Linda and
Kevin) for letting us use the upstairs room every Friday night. We've had some
memorable evenings entertainment there.
25th July 2014 Had our 29th Birthday Concert with guests Colin Henderson and
Skinner & T'witch. A great nights entertainment and both guests gave brilliant and well
received performances. Had excellent feedback on the night and next day from
members of the audience. Nice to see Colin returning to the Croppers after a 5 year
26th July 2013
A full house and a very warm room at the Croppers for our 28th birthday party night with
guests Russ and Bandersnatch.
15th Feb 2013
BRILLIG & Russ Hughes played to a capacity audience at the Croppers. Any more
people & weight in the room & we would have all ended up in the room downstairs!
Brilliant evening enjoyed by all. Thanks to Russ for making the long journey back 'up
north' & Helen for the catering.
20th July 2012
A welcome to old friends of the Croppers - Mick Shippin & Pete Sheard - plus Russ
Hughes (with impromtu support from Brian & Paul). Thanks very much to you all for a
17th Feb 2012
Blackwater & our very own Russ Hughes. Thanks very much to Tony & Ruth & Russ
for giving us a memorable night's entertainment.
15th July 2011
Pat Sherry & Stuart Douglas.
18th Feb 2011
30th Jul 2010
Croppers 25th Anniversary Party with Mike Silver & Anna Shannon.
MIKE LATER POSTED THIS ON HIS WEBSITE
“Croppers 25th Birthday Party took place last Friday 30th July and I was delighted when
they asked me to come and play for them. It was a lovely evening, not the least
because Anna Shannon came over to play some songs too, we played a song together
as well but nobody took a picture of us (sigh) but she also played flute along with Russ
Hughes, (club organiser and general brilliant bloke).
I'm not sure who enjoyed themselves more, everyone who played or the audience. It's
a wonderful feeling to play for people who just give you back everything that you give
them except that it comes back stronger”.
“Thank you Croppers, you guys are brilliant!”
23th Oct 2009
9th July 2009
30th Jan 2009
19th Dec 2008
25th Jul 2008
8th Feb 2008
24th Aug 2007
13th July 2007
15th Dec 2006