Friday Folk

ELIZABETH Taylor and Frank Spencer are just two of the famous people to be taught by a Rishton man.

Former teacher Keith Ellel, 70, taught a whole host of famous names during his 38 year career - even if the people were ordinary folk from Lancashire who shared their names with people in the limelight.

Among his pupils was Charles Dickins, pronounced the same as the famous author but with a different spelling, of whom Keith claims he had "great expectations."

Others included Christopher Robin and James Mason.

He even taught someone who shared his name with a famous historical event - Norman Conquest!

Keith, of Westwood Avenue, started his teaching career at Ribblesdale School, Clitheroe, as general subject teacher and later returned as head of music.

He said: "Norman Conquest is the one that sticks in my memory the most.

"It is quite unbelievable."

He added: "It was often difficult remembering pupils' names from various different classes but these were always ones that stuck in my memory."

Keith, who is married to Julie and has one daughter Kay, has also worked at Burnley Wood Secondary Boys' School, Burnley; Gawthorpe Secondary School, Padiham; St Stephen's Junior School, Blackburn; All Saints' Primary School, Clayton-le-Moors; and Benjamin Hargreaves Primary School, Accrington, where he was deputy head.

Do you know where these famously-named people are today? If you do, contact Christine Rutter on 01254 678678, extension 257.

Cancer campaigner to meet minister

A VOLUNTEER for the Breakthrough Breast Cancer charity has been invited to an audience with Health Secretary Frank Dobson at the House of Commons.

Ruth Loft will attend next Wednesday's reception, which is being held to recognise the work and achievements of national breast cancer voluntary organisations.

Mr Dobson is expected to be at the reception, along with Rossendale and Darwen MP Janet Anderson. The event has been organised by the Parliamentary all-party group on breast cancer, whose members include MPs Alice Mahon, Marion Roe, Dr Jenny Tonge and Judith Church.

Ruth, of Ryburn Avenue, Blackburn, will meet people involved in all aspects of breast cancer, including doctors and scientists. There will also be presentations to the major national voluntary breast cancer organisations to recognise their key achievements.

Breakthrough is raising money to establish and fund the UK's first breast cancer research centre and recently announced meeting its initial target of £15 million.

Ruth said: "I am thrilled to be one of the seven breakthrough volunteers invited to the House of Commons and hope this will give me the opportunity of furthering Breakthrough's cause and hopefully making the government aware of the urgent need for funding research. "I was saddened to hear about Linda McCartney's death and notice that Sir Paul has asked for donations, among others, to cancer research. Breast cancer is the biggest killer of middle-aged women and research into finding better treatments, screening and prevention is crucial."

Ruth's next event for Breakthrough is a coffee morning at her home, 29 Ryburn Avenue, Blackburn, next Saturday between 10am and noon, when John Holden, Breakthrough's marathon runner from Cherry Tree, Blackburn, will be welcomed back from the London Marathon.

Palace honour for Joan's island work

FORMER Blackburn woman Joan Hinnigan collected an MBE from the Queen for her services to the community on the Isle of Man.

Mother-of-three Mrs Joan Hinnigan, nee Hebden, is honorary secretary of the annual Manx Music Festival and has been a member of the Manx Board of Education for the last 10 years.

She lived at Pleasington until moving to the island in 1974 with her husband John, former chief fire officer for Blackburn. He is now the chief fire officer for the Isle of Man.

Mrs Hinnigan said: "It is a great honour to be recognised in this way." She is a former tele-ad worker for the Lancashire Evening Telegraph and a former social worker at Queen's Park Hospital, Blackburn.

Marine squad to meet again

MEMBERS of the 586 Squad of the Royal Marines in the 1950s are invited to contact ex-pals for a reunion.

One of the seamen Barrie Nicholls, of Nottingham, contacted the Lancashire Evening Telegraph to ask readers who were members of the 50-strong squad to contact him.

Already he has ex-colleagues in Windsor and Yorkshire working on the reunion planned for later this year.

Anyone who was in the squad is asked to contact Barrie on 01159 326087 or John Higgs on 01344 427695 or Terry Alder on 01904 708257.

School reunion planned

CALLING all those who left Clitheroe Royal Grammar School in 1988 - a reunion bash is being organised.

It will be held at Clitheroe Cricket Club in Chatburn Road on May 16. Tickets are available from Julie Knowles (01200 425197) or Darren Taylor (01200 424640).

On the run to beat brain bug

A YOUNG woman who beat the killer brain bug meningitis is ready to face her latest challenge - the London Marathon.

Nineteen-year-old Elaine Gorton is joining forces with her mother Christine, 43, for the 26-mile run to raise money for the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Elaine and colour separation artist Christine, both of Carus Avenue, Hoddlesden, near Darwen, have collected £1,800 in sponsorship money and are confident of completing the course this Sunday.

Elaine, who recently started a nursing course at the University of Central Lancashire, said: "We have been running 10-15 miles a week on the treadmill at our local gym, so we should be able to cross the finishing line.

"I might need an ambulance at the end of it though." Elaine contracted the meningococcal strain of the virus in June 1996. Since making a full recovery she has dedicated a lot of time to raising money for charities which help victims of meningitis.

"Having contracted meningitis, I am all too aware of the devastating nature of the disease, so getting sponsored to run the marathon is a way of helping the Foundation raise money for research and the ultimate eradication of the disease," she said.

Anyone who can help with sponsorship can ring Christine or Elaine on 01254 760506.

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