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Encyclopedia Sabrina (Norma Ann Sykes)

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SABRINA KNOCKS FANS OVER ... AND VICE VERSA!

Nelson Leader - Friday 27 January 1956. Page 7

THE GIRL who kept a tightly-buttoned lip and won fame by being ambitiously constructed (40-22-36 are the relevant measurements for those who care to keep a record of such things) came to Nelson's Imperial Ballroom on Friday evening — and was knocked down by the rush!

Yes, Sabrina was so over-whelmed when a fair-sized section of her 1,500 admirers broke through a hand-clasped official cordon in the ballroom she lost her balance. That blonde hair in the centre of our photograph* on left in Sabrina's So is the hand which reaches out in a desperate attempt to regain her balance. Fortunately, no harm was done.
And if this proved a shock for the TV girl, there was an even bigger surprise, though this time a pleasant one, awaiting her when she retired to precincts behind the stage between songs. For there tiny Pat Wheadon, a 16-year-old Nelson hairdresser, pushed her way through a crowd of "fans" and dance officials to renew an old acquaintanceship with Sabrina which had blossomed when the star was just plain (or maybe not-so-plain) Norma Sykes and a polio victim. Sabrina had polio four years ago; Pat, suffering from a leg complaint, was a patient in the same Stoke-on-Trent hospital. Pat had some difficulty in convincing officials that she really was a former friend of the star, but she eventually won her point and Sabrina was "delighted." The two girls chatted about old times and posed for Arthur Pratt's camera to record the meeting.

Sabrina had a word, too with the two local men who composed music and lyrics for the occasion, Albert Morris and Alan Ashworth. Their song, "Sabrina Samba," was sung by local crooner, Terry Lonsdale, of 9 Ripon Street, Nelson.

And publicly too, Sabrina broke her TV silence. She sang a few popular numbers such as "I can't give you anything but love, baby," and "Rock Around the Clock," and, before leaving at midnight, judged entrants for the Sabrina competition. It would be superfluous to indicate here what requirements would be needed in such a contest. Suffice it to say that a Barnoldswick housewife (a former Nelson girl) — Marilyn Murray by name — came closest to providing the necessary qualifications and won the first prize of five guineas. Marilyn, who lives at 40 Fenton Avenue, told us: "I never felt so nervous in all my life, but my husband talked me into entering."

* The photo in the article was in such bad quality that it did not warrant inclusion here.

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