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Fred Dibnah, the song and the man.

 

 

 
THE FRED DIBNAH MEMORIAL FUND

This fund has been set up to raise enough money to erect a statue of Fred Dibnah in Bolton. 

 

I am delighted to be able to announce that the statue of Fred was unveiled at Noon on April 29th 2008 which would have been Fred's 70th birthday.  We sang "Happy Birthday" to Fred and several people made speeches. 

I would like to thank everybody who has donated in any way to the Fred Dibnah Memorial Fund, especially those who bought the CD, thanks very much.  If you are ever in Bolton, take a trip to see Fred near the Town Hall.

 

The fund will close at the end of July but until then donations can still be made to:

The Fred Dibnah Memorial Fund
Mr Brian H Tetlow,
Rockwood House, Oaks Lane,
Bradshaw, Bolton BL2 3BR
 
The CD d is available from
          The CD costs 5.49 including P & P (If you wish to pay more to increase your
          donation to the fund please feel free to do so)
 
"A Musical Tribute To A Unique Man"

 

 

The CD consists of four songs including a new recording of the "Ohh Ohh Fred Dibnah"
song (see below) but this time recorded with Milnrow Brass Band.  There is also a song
written and sung by Rob Taylor, a cameraman on Fred's last television series, a song written
and sung by Mike Canavan, a lad originally from Blackley but now living in Unsworth, Bury
and a song written and recorded by Gary and Vera Aspey, a well known local folk duo. 
Many people enjoy the idea of buying something related to Fred (who I knew for about 
25 years) that they will, hopefully, enjoy knowing that 100% of the profits will go to his memorial fund.
 
Some comments from some people who have bought the CD, the first from Fred's two sons,
Jack & Roger:
 
Thank you so much for the C.D.
'A Musical Tribute to a Unique Man - Fred Dibnah' 
which you sent to us.
Each song has its own unique qualities and remembers Fred
in many different ways.
What a tribute - an album of songs!
Thanks again
Jack & Roger Dibnah

 


Many thanks; I received your Fred Dibnah musical tribute CD yesterday.

I was working in my garage last night restoring my Morris Minor and played the CD
on repeat all evening, it is brilliant. If I had to pick a favourite (I like them all) it has
to be Ohh Ohh Fred Dibnah (Long Version) by Hanky Park with Milnrow Brass Band.

Good luck with the CD and hope the Fred Dibnah Memorial Fund soon meets its
target, as I look forward to visiting the statue of Fred.
(Dougie McIntire)
 
I would just like to thank you for the Fred Dibnah Tribute CD which I received today from you.
It brings tears to our eyes listening to it.  I think the best track which we seem to keep playing
a lot is "Knock 'em Down Dibnah".

 

Thanks very much to  Kid Menthal Music/KM Records the record company involved, for all their help.

 

FRED DIBNAH - the song and the man

FRED DIBNAH - the song and the man

 

November 6 2004 - I have just heard the sad news that Fred died today in Bolton

Sincere condolences to his wife Sheila and his sons Jack & Roger, who I know, and to all other members of his family.

 

FRED's Funeral November 16 2004

poem by Rabindranath Tagore.  Read at Fred's funeral by his daughter Lorna

FAREWELL MY FRIENDS

Farewell my friends
It was beautiful as long as it lasted
The journey of my life.
I have no regrets whatsoever
Save the pain I'll leave behind.
Those dear hearts who love and care
And the heavy with sleep, ever-moist eyes
The smile in spite of a lump in the throat
And the strings pulling at the heart and soul
The strong arms that held me up
When my own strength let me down.
Each morsel that I was fed  
Was full of love.
At every turning of my life I came across good friends
Friends who stood by me
Even when the time raced me by.
Farewell, farewell my friends
I smile and bid you goodbye.
No, shed no tears for I need them not
All I need is your smile.
If you feel sad, do think of me
For that is what I'll like
When you live in the hearts of those you love
Remember then
You never die.

 

 

It was a  fitting final journey for a unique man, a journey Fred planned himself.   There were some memorable spoken tributes in the church and the whistles from all the steam engines present blew for a full minute as Fred was lowered to his final resting place.  A number of Fred's friends from the steam engine community commented that it seemed appropriate that "a tube blew on the roller on Fred's final journey".    Thanks Fred, thank you so much for the wonderful memories.

 

A photo I took just for this site of me & Fred. 

 

An excellent fun site with information about Fred is www.wiganworld.co.uk/fred/

There is a Fred Dibnah fan club site at http://www.geocities.com/fred_dibnah_fan_club/home.html

I knew Fred Dibnah for about twenty five years, met him when my wife and Fred's wife Sue worked together.  It was in the early 1980s that he first invited me to busk near his steam roller at one of the many steam fairs that he has attended over the years.  Following that first successful visit, I went along to several more fairs with him, busking with guitar and banjo and generally having a great time.

One of the best times though was after dropping a chimney.  I had been to parties before at Fred's following the event of a chimney coming down but this particular day, a Sunday, it was brilliant sunshine and "Me & Our Kid" (my brother Joe and I) sang Everly Brothers, Beatles and lots of other Sixties songs for about three hours.

Several years ago I wrote a song for Fred and recorded it with guitars and mandolin for him.  When we (Hanky Park) decided to put another album out, I resurrected the song and put a Brass Band on it, well not really a brass band, just me playing keyboards trying to sound like a brass band.  I was dead chuffed to hear that Fred loved it.  I have now recorded the song with Milnrow Brass Band and that is the version that is on the CD mentioned above with three other songs about Fred - all profits to the Fred Dibnah Memorial Fund.

A big thank you to Fred Fielder who has played this track several times on his radio show (Fred Fielder & Friends GMR - broadcast on 95.1 FM and 104.6 FM -  Sunday 11 am to 1 pm).  When Fred interviewed me on his show I had a rush of requests for the CD  - thanks to all concerned.

 

The older version of the song can be heard by clicking on the Fred Dibnah title on the "Latest Album" page.

 

A number of people have asked me for the lyrics of the song so here they are:

Ohh Ohh Fred Dibnah

(Written by Pete Martin & Published by Kid Menthal Music)

Chorus
'ave you seen 'im?  'ave you 'eard 'im?
Chuggin' down the road, ridin' on 'is old steamroller.
'e's a famous steeplejack
And the old smokestacks
Make his face go black.
'e's a feller from Bolton
Ohh Ohh Fred Dibnah.
 
'e's not done bad for a local lad Fred Dibnah.
Gainin' fame in doin' what 'e likes to do.
When 'e climbs 'is ladders of red.
With 'is flat cap sittin' on 'is 'ead.
'e becomes content just gazin' at the view.
CHORUS
'is dream at first was to try to nurse these chimneys.
To remind us all of the grand ol' cotton mill.
There's a tear in 'is eye once more
As 'e drops another to the floor
You can see by 'is face 'e'd prefer 'em standin' still.
CHORUS
Another great love is ridin' above town traffic.
A powerful force on 'is big steam 'orse 'e rolls.
'e's restored every bit of it 'imself
Cos you can't get the parts of the shelf
And 'e chugs along while stokin' up 'is coals
CHORUS
With all this power just four miles an hour is the limit.
(So) passin' through the country's not a lot of fun for Fred.
Cos it takes an hour or two
To pass each panoramic view
Towns and cities are much more fun instead.
CHORUS
Folk used to call "'ave you ever 'ad a fall from a chimney?"
Fred gave a sigh then a standard reply began.
"If you ever 'ad a fall from one o' these
You'd be pushin' up the daisies and the trees
Cos it's one day out with the undertaker man."

 

When Fred Dibnah and I were interviewed together by Fred Fielder on GMR (radio programme), Fred Fielder commented that the song is full of what he called "Dibnah-isms".  Clearly I picked these up during many conversations with Fred over the years.