Lancashire nostalgia in 1984: Eurosceptics, hoola-hoops and the massage of God

Michael Welsh, who currently holds the seat for Central Lancashire in the European Parliament
Michael Welsh, who currently holds the seat for Central Lancashire in the European Parliament

Here's a look at some of the stories that were making the headlines back in 1984:

Preston public feel let down by Eurocrats

Britain has been a member of the Common Market since January 1973. But has it done anything for our economic performance? Has it softened the blow of the recession? More specifically, what has it done for the North West?

In an effort to measure enthusiasm generated by the election to choose members to the Euro Parliament at Brussels we went out on to the streets of Preston.

And the end-of-term report on our membership of the Euro Community might read something like: Average, could do better.

According to a Post straw poll most people know there’s an election but not that it’s on June 14.

Teachers Frank and Jean Cook can’t see much need for a European parliament. “It just seems another unnecessary tier of government,” they said.

“Our Euro MPs seem to enjoy an awful lot of holidays, costly cars and big expenses. But the public don’t get much in return,” said father of two Frank, of Church Road, Treales, near Kirkham.

Cash clerk Derek Fullalove, 56, said: “The Parliament at Brussels doesn’t seem to wield much power, so why bother?”

READ MORE: Look back at a selection of pictures from 1984 here

Money spinner has folk going round the twist again and again

Hoola-hoops are back - and driving everyone round the twist.

The craze of the 50s is sweeping Lancashire’s health and fitness clubs and catching people on the hop.

But as we found out when we took some hoops on the streets, one or two can still spin them like they used to do 30 years ago.

Preston’s Dancers troupe did not need to wait for the craze to be reborn. Pupils at the dance school use them regularly to keep on shape.

Dancer Eileen Carter, a keep fit expert, can keep a hoop spinning all day.

She said: “Once you’ve got the rhythm it’s easy, but I’m not saying if I can remember hoola-hoops the first time round.”

Former Mr Great Britain, Gerry Wilson, from Saunders Lane, Hutton, was a hoola-hoop expert in the 50s. But the man who used to have a hoola-hoop demonstration team found it altogether different when he had a go.

“In those days it seemed a lot easier - I’m a different shape now,” said 57-year-old Gerry.

A trim waist, plenty of rhythm and a new lightweight hoop are the ideal ingredients for an unbeatable spin.

Even Lucy the horse who was taking part in Preston’s Shopping Festival had a go - but couldn’t get into her stride because the hoop would not slip around her waist.

Vicarage hands out massage of God with bishop’s blessing

A vicar has chosen a down-to-earth way of spreading the word of God.

Visitors to a new “Swedish massage” parlour in Lancashire are in for an unholy shock - it’s in a vicarage.

And vicar, the Rev Denis McWilliam, 58, is an enthusiastic customer - for the salon is run by his wife Christel.

The parlour, next to St Nicholas’ Church, in Sabden, near Clitheroe, was approved by Mr McWilliam’s bishop after Christel, 54, convinced him the physical well-being of parishioners was as important as their spiritual health.

Now, while Denis saves souls, German-born Christel spreads God’s massage by rubbing the souls of people’s feet.

“It’s the finest form of healing,” said Christel, a fully-trained masseuse.

“I took it up as a response to people in the village asking for this sort of service. The therapy treatment provides a form of relaxation to the parishioners.”

Her husband said: “What Christel is doing is helping the village. But it’s also proved popular with folk from outside the area.

“The bishop is fully aware of what’s going on and he doesn’t think there is anything seedy about it.”

However, Christel’s salon has attracted its share of what he called “undesirables”.