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Hollywood star with link to the area helps group

By gail robinson, Town Reporter Saturday 9th February 2013
Julie Andrews
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A local history group has been given a financial boost by a Hollywood star- and her German fan.

 

Swinton Heritage Group was given several items by musical star Julie Andrews to help with its fundraising after the group helped her trace some of her Yorkshire family roots.

 

Those items- a signed album and a children's book written by Julie,  have just been sold on eBay- raising £126 from a Julie Andrews fan in Germany.

 

Now that money will be used to help pay for the group's new website which will allow people to share their old pictures.

 

Julie Andrews is supporting the group after members were able to help her trace some Yorkshire family roots, in particular her maternal grandfather Arthur Morris.

Arthur, from Swinton,  was feted in music halls for his monologues and poems about the lives of miners in the 1920s.

 

The pit deputy with a strong social conscience became known as the 'Pitman's Poet'

 

During the 1920s' great strike he started writing poems which he sold for a few pence to financially help the families of striking miners.

 

His poignant poetry was praised by King George V, the Prince of Wales and senior political figures before he achieved celebrity status performing monologues on stage while his daughter Barbara played the piano.

 

Barbara went on to have a very famous daughter-  Hollywood musical superstar Julie Andrews.

 

The link between South Yorkshire and Hollywood has led to regular correspondence between Andrews and Swinton Heritage, the community history group.

 

She provided local accountant and history enthusiast Giles Brearley with information about her granddad when he decided to write a book about him and helped with fundraising for a plaque in his memory close to Arthur's former home in Temperance Street.

 

Swinton Heritage has just published  ‘A Swinton Pictorial’ by Ken Wyatt and Giles, which features more than 200 photos, many previously unpublished, which with detailed captions capture local life, work, transportation, the street scene, sport and leisure from the district in years gone by.

 

Ken Wyatt said: "We are very grateful to our friend over the ocean, Hollywood mega-star, Julie Andrews.  We are hoping to have a revamped web site this year with the facility for people to share their old pictures.

 

"We hope to create a huge archive and place on line our own collection of heritage photographs which have featured in our books. "

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