Monday, May 27, 2019

David Bowie's Father Had Dealings With Cliff Richard Fan Club

Recently, I've found information in two Cliff Richard Fan Club magazines, from 1961, detailing cooperation between the fan club and Dr.Barnardo's children's homes.. cooperation that involved David Bowie's father. Mr. Haywood Jones, father of David Jones - David Bowie of the future - was, at that time public relations officer for the charity.

The first information that I have access to is from the fourth Cliff Richard fan club magazine of 1961, and is largely comprised of a letter sent by David Bowie's father to the club, referring in part to a visit he made to their headquarters, in connection with money they had raised. There is also some explanatory commentary from Jan Vane, the club's founder and president:


A Letter from Dr. Barnardo's Homes

You may be wondering what we are doing with the £80 we collected to buy ponies for Dr. Barnardo's Homes. Well Mr. Haywood Jones, their public relations officer, came down to see me about it just recently and we have just received this letter: -

Dear Miss Vane,

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to your club last week and was interested to see what a hive of industry it is. I am sure the members of the fan club who have subscribed so generously for the ponies will be wondering what on earth we are doing about it. I really must apologise for the delay which is entirely my fault. Unfortunately, just at the moment when I was going to start looking for a pony it became necessary to move two ponies which were at one of our other homes and these are being sent to Homes that have been asking for them. You will remember that I explained all this to you and you agreed that the fund could be used for moving the ponies from Canterbury to their new homes - Jane to Kelvedon and Silver to Crawley. This will not cost very much and we shall be left with enough money to buy a pony for another home. So, as a result, the fan club is helping three of our homes instead of one!

As most of the homes are away camping at the moment it is a little difficult to decide which should have the Cliff Richard Fan Club pony but I hope to be able to let you know very soon.

Will you please thank the very generous Fan Club members who have sent in the money, and convey to them my sincere apologies for the delay.

Your sincerely;
Haywood S. Jones

I hope this will satisfy your curiosity as it is only natural you're wondering what has become of the money. As soon as we know something definite it will be printed in the magazine.

The next, 5th, issue of the fan club magazine was designated a '21st Birthday Edition', meaning that it was commemorating Cliff Richard's 21st birthday, in October 1961. This contains an update on the Dr. Barnardo's / pony situation, in the form of an article, and, on the back cover, two illustrative photos.

Because I have only a poor quality scan of  the article, some - though not much - of the text is currently missing or uncertain:


The Day 'CLIFF' was Taken (?) to the Children of Dr. Barnardo's Homes

We have at last bought a pony for one of Dr. Barnardo's Homes. As most of you know the money to buy it was raised by you, our members, through raffles and voluntary contributions. After several trips to stables to find a suitable pony, and a visit to the home it was going to, the 8 year old Dapple pony was bought. A Mr. --- P---ley of the --- Gale Memorial Stables found the pony for me as he knew the type we would require. The pony was to be delivered to the home, at Kelvedon, Essex, on Tuesday Sept. 12th (?). I was invited out there to see it arrive and present it on behalf of all of you. When I arrived there was great excitement among the children. 'Mother' was busy tidying up the 'tots' ready for the arrival of 'CLIFF', although the pony already had a name the children had decided that it would have to be re-christened 'CLIFF'. Everybody was busy doing something or other, even the other animals had to be brushed ready for the new arrival. The children's ages range from babies to teenagers, boys and girls. The other pets they have are: one rather old pony called 'Crackers', a donkey, a goat, a Pyrenean mountain dog, a spaniel, dozens of rabbits (white), about eight budgies, ten (?) golden pigs, two kittens and two gold-fish. (I think that's all, unless there's any more rabbits since I was last there) The great moment arrived and there stood all the tots waving to 'CLIFF' as he was driven up the drive in a horsebox. The pony, donkey and Alpine dog were also on the ----- to look over their new friend. As you can see from the pictures on the back of the cover 'CLIFF' will have plenty of friends at his new home. That's me in the first pic, wearing all white, the older girls there are the ones that'll ride the pony, as he's too big for the tots. (pic.2)

All the children wish to thank you for their new friend. I wish you could have all seen their little faces when 'CLIFF' trotted out of the horse-box, that was reward enough.

FOOTNOTE. We had hoped to buy two ponies but this one alone cost £-- (£-- was collected and the club put the £-) so if you should hear of one that's unwanted or isn't too dear please let me know.

Connections between David Bowie and Cliff Richard, which could be described as indirect, direct of just in some way possibly worth noting continued through the 1960's and the 1970's. Here is a timeline summary for anyone that might find this of interest for whatever reason: 

January 1947

'David Robert Jones was born at 40 Stansfield Road, Brixton, at 9 a.m. on January 8, 1947, the third child of Margaret Mary Burns, the second of Haywood Stenton Jones..' [Bowie The Pitt Report by Kenneth Pitt = BTPR]


David Bowie's father, as public relations officer of Dr. Barnardo's deals with the application of a financial gift from the Cliff Richard Fan Club, visiting their headquarters and communicating by letter with them.


Drummer, Dave Hadfield, who had played with Harry Webb (Cliff Richard) several years earlier, joins The Kon-rads - the band includes (the future) David Bowie.

March 1967

David Bowie goes to see Aladdin at the London Palladium, starring Cliff Richard. He is in the company of his manager, Kenneth Pitt, and cousins of Mr. Pitt. [BTPR]

July 1969

David Bowie's manager, Ken Pitt, makes contact with an old friend, Tito Burns, in connection with David Bowie's career. Tito Burns had been an early manager of Cliff Richard (around 1959-1960). [BTPR]

July 1969

David Bowie takes part in the Malta Song Festival, in which Cliff Richard's primary musical mentor of the 1960's - Norrie Paramor - has a prominent role. [BTPR]

February 1970

David Bowie and Cliff Richard are both attendees, photographed together at the Disc Awards, held at Café Royal, Piccadilly, London.


Cliff Richard makes condemnatory remarks about David Bowie in at least one press interview...

"What is this Bowie man/woman image on the stage doing to young people? He upsets me as a man. There's a great responsibility all of us singers have to the ten year olds and some of us aren't living up to it"

[Quoted in Steve Turner Cliff Richard: The Biography]

"Here's a genuine married man dressing up as a woman. The impact is not on people like myself, or those in my age group but on youngsters who will be tomorrow's people. What will those ten and eleven year olds think of someone who's a man dressing up as a woman at a pop show?.. He upsets me as a man"

[Quote in image from unidentified Bowie biography or article tweeted by Lee Rourke (2016)]

November 1979

A substantial Cliff Richard article, insightfully written by Susan Hill, is published. While interviewed by Ms. Hill, Cliff Richard has, once more, brought up the subject of David Bowie...

'..We talk about cult figures in rock, and Cliff mounts what seems like a hobby horse that should have been put out to grass years ago.

"I really like David Bowie. That album, 'Ziggy Stardust', I thought was great, but I can't believe it didn't have a bad effect on the kids. I mean, he was purveying homosexuality, that's what it was all about. That sort of image and power is very dangerous."

I demur, saying I feel he overestimates the potency of that particular Bowie persona and that, in any case, "Ziggy" was a "concerned" album, very political, not merely flippantly sexual. I mention "Five Years". Cliff didn't remember that one..'  

[Melody Maker, November 3rd 1979]