Derby

George Formby fan hid '£19,000 ukuleles' from wife

George Formby
Image caption The Lancashire comedian, who died in 1961, was famous for hits like When I'm Cleaning Windows

He was known for performing with his "little ukulele" and now two instruments made famous by George Formby are set to go under the hammer.

A fan of the Lancashire comedian snapped up the ukulele and banjo ukulele, but kept them hidden so as not to anger his wife.

The instruments have a guide price of £19,000 for the pair and will be sold alongside other Formby mementos.

They are due to be sold in Etwall, Derbyshire, on 19 March.

'Kept it under the bed'

They formed part of a collection amassed by Formby fan George Johnson, from Gateshead, who died last summer at the age of 91.

He passed the instruments to his children.

Image copyright PA
Image caption The collection was stored in a fan's attic and under the bed in case it got him into trouble with his wife

His son Mike Johnson, from Stone, Staffordshire, said: "As well as listening to his George Formby music collection, dad would often get out his uke and play along to the music".

"Dad collected Formby memorabilia from the 1930s to the mid-90s - a 60-year span.

"He didn't tell my mum, Mary, about everything he bought in case it got him into trouble. He kept most of it under the bed and in the attic. Mum, who passed away in 2011, never realised how big the collection was."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Hansons predict it could sell for £19,000

One of the instruments was used in 1934 in Formby's first film Boots! Boots!

Other vintage instruments and Formby memorabilia, including 78 records, videos, cassettes, magazines and sheet music, will also be sold at the auction.

Claire Howell, music memorabilia expert at auctioneers Hansons, said: "This collection is extraordinary.

"Mr Johnson must have been one of George Formby's biggest fans, if not the biggest."

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