The spirit of ‘63 lives on as Beatles visit to Mansfield is remembered 50 years on

Tribute act Hey Beatles perform at the St Peter's Centre on Saturday.

Tribute act Hey Beatles perform at the St Peter's Centre on Saturday.

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THE 50th anniversary of the legendary Beatles playing in Mansfield for the first time was celebrated with a special gig in the town on Saturday night.

It took place at the St Peter’s Centre exactly 50 years to the day since the ‘Fab Four’ performed at the Granada Cinema on West Gate on 23rd February 1963.

The sell-out, anniversary gig was organised by Beatles fan Ian Watkins, programme controller at radio station Mansfield 103.2, and featured performances by tribute act Hey Beatles.

Ian came up with the idea to hold the event after a trip to the Beatles’ home city of Liverpool two years ago.

Said Ian: “I’ve always been a massive Beatles fan and because my dad went to the original gig back in 1963, I thought it would be fun to do so something special to mark the 50th and with a little help from our friends at St Peter’s and the Hey Beatles we made a bit of magic happen all over again.”

John, Paul, George and Ringo came to Mansfield on 23rd February 1963 with the Helen Shapiro Tour and then again just a month later as part of the Tommy Roe and Chris Montez tour.

Legend has it, the group was chased by hoards of fans back to the Swan Hotel the second time they were in town.

Back in the day, the Granada played host to a number of leading acts - including Roy Orbison, Cliff Richard and the Rolling Stones.

It was flattened in 1973 to make way for the Four Seasons Shopping Centre. Primark now stands in the spot where the Granada once was.

The Rev David Fudger, from St Peter’s Church, was one of the 100 people who attended the special event.

He said: “I think it was a brilliant opportunity for people to relive memories and the audience really seemed to enjoy themselves singing along and even dancing at the end.

“I particularly loved hearing people’s stories from the actual night itself back in 1963, maybe we’ll put on more nostalgia nights in the future.”

If you were at one of the two Beatles gigs in 1963, email us at newsdesk@chad.co.uk.