NOSTALGIA: Lenny Henry and Garry Birtles in 1983 and 11-plus shake-up in 1993

Lenny Henry meeting fans on the children's ward at Boston's Pilgrim Hospital in 1983.
Lenny Henry meeting fans on the children's ward at Boston's Pilgrim Hospital in 1983.
  • Comedian and star striker meet with fans in 1983
  • Pupils to be rewarded with Big Macs and Top of the Pops trips in 1993

This week (September 26 edition) in 1983 ...

* TV funnyman Lenny Henry brought his stage show to Boston, but also took time out to meet with young fans at the town’s Pilgrim Hospital.

The comedian entertained an audience of 750 at the Haven Theatre.

The Standard wrote: “It was television’s New Faces show which made him famous as a schoolboy, and Tiswas, OTT and the award-winning Three of a Kind which have established him as a top-liner.

“But – like earlier Haven visitor Ken Dodd – he prefers working in front of a live audience, and his 70-minute act gave him chance to show his talents as gag man, story teller, and impressionist, and give range to his rich repertoire of unlikely characters.”

Ahead of his performance he and support act Cheese and Onion visited the children’s ward at Pilgrim Hospital.

Lenny takes a seat during his visit to the children's ward.

Lenny takes a seat during his visit to the children's ward.

* Also meeting fans in Boston that week was Nottingham Forest striker Garry Birtles.

The Standard wrote: “It cost Manchester United more than a million pounds for Garry Birtles’ signature, and Cloughie more than a bob or two when he bought him back for Nottingham Forest. But Boston youngsters got it for free on Tuesday, when the ace striker visited Morley’s stand at the Trades Fair.”

This week in 1993 ...

* A decision to change arrangements for the 11-plus halfway through that year’s selection process had left parents angry and teachers bewildered.

His 70-minute act gave him chance to show his talents as gag man, story teller, and impressionist, and give range to his rich repertoire of unlikely character.

The new system meant youngsters would have to attend grammar schools at weekends in November and January to sit the remaining two papers in that year’s examinations.

At least one group of parents was considering a boycott in order to wreck the new plan, the Standard reported.

The change was being made due to a growing number of grammar schools in Lincolnshire being grant maintained, meaning they had opted out of local government control and had the right to set their own standard of entry and administer their own tests.

* A new code of conduct had been introduced at Haven High School, in Boston, which gave well-behaved pupils the chance to win such treats as McDonald’s outings.

Garry Birtles meeting fans in Boston in 1983.

Garry Birtles meeting fans in Boston in 1983.

Under the system, pupils would be given a raffle ticket each day if they had followed the rules.

They would then be entered into a weekly draw in which the prizes, provided by supporters of the school, could vary from a Big Mac to a trip to Top of the Pops.