The Life of Dr Fred Dibnah MBE - spoken by
Mrs Sheila Dibnah
DR FRED DIBNAH MBE
Welcome to the new, exclusive website dedicated to my popular ‘'Fred Dibnah Night's'’ where you can learn a little more about my continuous efforts as Fred's widow to promote his name, and bring together memories of my late husband in a full theatre stage show and privately booked speaking events around the country.
I have offered this site in response to the usual utterance, "How do we go about booking you?”
I’m sure many of you out there attended one of Fred's highly successful theatre shows or after dinner speeches and know first hand what a natural, excellent speaker he was. There was no edge to Fred, no sense of ‘'I’'m better than you, mate'’ as he’d stand chatting to members of theaudience in the bar before he ‘went on to do his turn,’ not for him being holed up in some dressing room dithering from stage fright. I’m sure many of you out there attended one of Fred's highly successful theatre shows or after dinner speeches and know first hand what a natural, excellent speaker he was.
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There was no edge to Fred, no sense of ‘'I’'m better than you, mate'’ as he’d stand chatting to members of theaudience in the bar before he ‘went on to do his turn,’ not for him being holed up in some dressing room dithering from stage fright.
His idea of a sound check was to amble in, enquire where the ‘thunder box’ was, tap the microphone, say in his own unique way '“Is tha’ bloody thing working alreet, or what?',” then casually wandering off for a pee and a pint. He’d instruct the stage crew to “Put’th big lights on” so he could see the audience, and puzzle why the guy in the sound box wanted him in to stand on stage in the empty auditorium during a sound check and keep saying into the darkness, '‘testing-testing - one/two/three'.” 'Prompt Corner' to Fred was where they still dragged you off with a big oversized hook like in the Music Hall days… and ‘the tabs’ were something you lit with a match!
Most of all, he wanted to share his enthusiasm with you his fans; make you feel like you were there when he climbed that tall chimney or went on a wild road run with his steam engine. He could do exactly that, and take you as a willing prisoner through sheer charisma.
He needed you to be familiar with what it was like to face death as a workmate in his job as a steeplejack, and expect you to laugh with him as he told amazing stories with his familiar colloquiums, giving a colourful de-mon-ster-ation in words of how to ladder a 50ft chimney from scratch. And you were never exactly left in doubt his thoughts about the ‘Health & Safety men’ either!! - Like you, I miss those treasured times with Fred.
To get up on stage or in front of people and speak about him is something I love. Happy to think of ‘Hippo’ (my pet name for him) whilst I am standing there, knowing how grand it must have felt seeing you and sharing his life at that very moment in time. His life was mine too for a short while, and because of my background and what’s happened since he died, I’'m capable of using it not only as a means to support myself, but also as a source of continual comfort by talking about the man I still love to an audience and being accepted by his fans.
Dr Fred Dibnah MBE: The memory lives on…....."I’'ll tell you all about it".