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Cliff Richard came to our Oldbury neighbour Cindy Kent for tea

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: June 14, 2014

Comments (1)

JUST to say how much I look forward to reading The Bugle every week, and I thought you might be interested in my memories.

The item from Bill Page about Cliff Richard's car being seen in West Bromwich in The Bugle (April 10 edition), stirred up quite a few recollections for me which might be of interest to readers.

While I am a bit hazy about the exact time-frame, the events, I believe, are as follows.

As a girl, I lived in Fisher Road, Oldbury. Across the road lived Mr and Mrs Kent and their daughters Ann and Cynthia, both a good bit younger than me; Cynthia was the younger.

They were a very nice family; I seem to remember that they went to St. Paul's Church, St. Paul's Road, Smethwick. I remember that Mrs. Kent, in particular, was very sociable; she was in the forefront of things when it was 1953 (Coronation year) and a street party needed organising.

By the 1960s I had married and left the road. From then on, my mother passed on news of what was happening in Fisher Road.

In about 1964 Mrs Kent announced that Cynthia had joined a pop group and they had made a record. This caused a stir among the neighbours and much interest was shown in the progress of the group, The Settlers, which included Cynthia, who shortly became known as Cindy.

The Settlers, rather more folk or gospel-based than pop, were frequently on television, and indeed radio. One of the early songs they recorded was "The Lightning Tree", which was the theme music for the TV serial Follyfoot, and the song became a classic, it never went out of favour.

The Settlers went from strength to strength, making guest appearances on national television with big stars such as Val Doonican and Morecambe and Wise.

In due course Cindy left Fisher Road and made London her base, but we always had news of what she had been doing.

In the mid-60s she and The Settlers were the resident group on cruise liners – Mrs Kent showed everyone photos of all of them, including some of Cliff Richard, who sang with them from time to time.

Some time in, I think, the latter half of the Sixties – possibly around Christmas time – Mrs. Kent told the neighbours that Cindy was coming to Sunday tea, and she was bringing with her Acker Bilk and some of his Jazzmen and Cliff Richard.

Just at this time the afternoons were cold and darkness soon fell. Quite possibly neighbours were indoors, but watching from their front windows to see the visitors.

Anyway, the next day Mrs. Kent asked my mother "Did you see Cliff?" My mother: "No I didn't." Mrs. Kent: "You didn't see Cliff? How could you miss him? He parked his car in front of yours!" It was my mother's one and only claim to fame.

Again, in the late Sixties, there was a late-night forum programme on television, where the panel were confronted with ethical and moral questions of the day, and were asked for their advice.

The title escapes me now, but Cindy was a member of the panel – I think, the only woman present. All these TV appearances we saw in black-and-white in our house – it was the Seventies before we had colour! A few years later I saw a photo in a local newspaper (it might have been the Birmingham Mail) of Cindy's wedding. She was marrying, I think, her road manager. Her little bridesmaid was Julia, the daughter of Cindy's sister Ann.

Time passed; eventually Cindy left the group, and another girl singer took her place. I don't know what finally happened, whether the Settlers disbanded, but we didn't seem to hear of them, or Cindy, any more. It was the end of an era. Then, about four years ago, quite late one night, I was idly going through some radio channels and I came upon Premier Christian Radio, which was a phone-in programme where people rang in with problems. The person hosting the programme, counselling the callers and offering advice about their problems was Cindy. I caught the programme for some time until a new presenter took over, and then soon after that it went off the air altogether.

These days, once in a while you might still hear, on the radio, the Settlers singing "The Lightning Tree". And while Cliff, famously, is still about, it's also nice to know that so is Cindy!

Mary Mitchell, née Lang,

Kingswinford.

j.i.mitchell@blueyonder.co.uk>

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  • revcindy1  |  June 30 2014, 8:05PM

    I really enjoyed reading this article and I remember you Mary and the fact that you played the piano really well. I'm not sure where the Acker Bilk idea came from as it was just Cliff who came to tea at our house in Fisher Road. My Mam was thrilled as he asked her to cook him egg and chips! She had been sworn to secrecy. I'm now a Church of England vicar in North London and I'd love to hear from anyone else who lived in the Fisher/Seymour Road area at that time. What great memories!

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