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HOLLYDAY OF A LIFETIME
Buddy Holly champions jived their way to Texas at the biggest Rock 'n' Roll party in the world.
On September 25 an excited group gathered at Gatwick Airport for our flight to Dallas, Texas. Stars of the party were the three couples who won the trip by taking top honours in The Buddy Holly Rock 'n' Roll Championship at The Biggest Rock 'n' Roll Party In The World, which launched Buddy Holly Week at London's Lyceum September 7.
The Championship Grand Final was the culmination of a summer-long, nationwide search for the best rock‘n’rolling couples in Britain. In addition to cash prizes, a trophy and medals, the top three couples in the land jived their way to the 'Hollyday' of a lifetime in Buddy Holly's home state, Texas.
First-place couple Les and Tanneh Prendergast from Liverpool had extra reason to be in a Hollyday mood, because they were married a few days before the trip so that it could be their honeymoon! Also on the trip were Kevin Ford, a Weights and Measures trainee and his partner Pippa Ford, a hairdresser, both from Stoke-on-Trent, and Trevor Luff, a mechanic from Walton-on-Thames, and his dance partner Helen Shore, a secretary from Surbiton. Our marvellous hosts and party leaders were Mr. and Mrs. Alan Crowder from MPL, who, on behalf of Paul and Linda McCartney made sure everyone was treated royally on what proved to be an unforgettable journey.
In the week we were greeted at Dallas Airport by Buddy Holly's widow, Maria Elena Holly Diaz (a tireless ball of energy who charmed everyone); taken for a tour of the city in chauffered Cadillac limousines; stayed in the palatial Anatole Hotel and visited a real Texan rodeo; the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park; the Lone Star beer brewery; the historic Alamo in beautiful San Antonio and even a drive-in movie. Along with the sight-seeing everyone had time to enjoy shopping, luxuriating in the hotel pool and Jacuzzi, and over-eating in a sumptuous succession of American restaurants!
But the highlight of the week for everyone was the overnight trip to Buddy Holly's hometown, Lubbock. Welcomed there by Bill Griggs, president of the U.S. Buddy Holly Memorial Society, we saw Buddy's home, his high school, the city's memorial statue of Muddy, and paid a moving pilgrimage to Buddy's simple grave. Most touching of all, we were surprised and gratified to be warmly met by Buddy's parents, brothers Larry and Travis and sister Patricia, who all expressed their delight at the way in which Buddy's memory has been so honoured in the U.K.
The final celebration of the week as a 50's party in Dallas on our last night, where the British Buddy Holly Rock 'n' Roll Champions judged local jivers and were made official Texan citizens by a representative of the governor of the state. Exhausted, but full of fantastic memories from the week, we boarded the flight back to London with some reluctance. As Helen Shore said back at Gatwick, 'I may never have such a wonderful trip again, but I'll always know how it feels to live like a millionaire for a week!'
Paul and Linda in Fifties gear at the Prizegiving.
All the finalists toured London in an open bus.