A Sunbeam in Shenton Street…

May Freer. This promotional photo was taken at the Zarb studio in St Saviour's Road.

May Freer. This promotional photo was taken at the Zarb studio in St Saviour’s Road.

A Sunbeam Alpine sports car, that is – won by Roy Freer’s mother May in 1961 in a competition to write a slogan for the Britvic Cherry B drink!

The family lived in Shenton Street, and ‘I pestered Mum to enter the competition’, Roy writes. He helped her with the first part, which was to put six singers of songs about Cherry B in order (they were recorded onto a flexi-disc). The second part was to write the slogan:

for the Cherry B twins to promote a new sparkling version. Her winning slogan was so simple that I suspect that was what won the competition: ‘It’s good to have a choice of twins, with Cherry B one always wins!’. The slogan was condensed to ‘Cherry B – always a winner’ on the float that Britvic toured around lots of seaside resorts, with fairground horses ridden by the Cherry B twins (one blond, one brunette).

CherryB_car_Britvic_letter1 (2)Imagine opening this letter on a Saturday morning! Such excitement! Mum woke me up. I was a lazy, typical teenager, but I was soon jumping up and down on the bed. Mum had to go to the phone box to ring Dad’s workplace to tell him the news.

The prize was presented to May at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool by the radio and TV presenter David Jacobs. She was accompanied by her husband Albert, Roy, and Roy’s aunt, who also won £50 for passing on the entry form to his mother. This was followed by a dinner at the Savoy Hotel – ‘all free, first class train tickets too!’.

CherryB_Car_May_David_Jacobs_Roy (2)

David Jacobs presenting May with the car keys. Roy is on his right.

Roy confesses to being ‘a bit disappointed’ with the first prize:

I wanted the third prize, a top of the range Decca stereo radiogram. None of us wanted the second prize – a Lambretta scooter. My prize for helping to win the car (apart from the trip to Blackpool, the fun times in the car and seeing my Mum and Dad so happy) was the Philips tape recorder that they bought me.

May and Albert with the car in Shenton Street

May and Albert with the car in Shenton Street

It was Albert who actually drove the car, which was a ‘bright Pippin red’. Roy was too young – ‘and Mum never learned to drive’!

Many thanks Roy for passing on this great story and the photos. Definitely something a little different… And if you’d like to see the original advert to promote Cherry B, someone has uploaded this and the songs from the flexi-disk to YouTube at https://youtu.be/z117s0oMjbk.