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Freda Kelly – Beatles Fan Club Secretary, 1963-1972

Happy Nat w/Freda Kelly, March 2011

Happy Nat w/Freda Kelly, March 2011

Liverpudlian Freda Kelly was the Beatles Fan Club Secretary from 1963 until it closed in 1972, two years after the breakup of The Beatles. The Official Beatles Fan Club originally formed in May of 1962 and was managed by Bobbie Brown, but when Bobbie became engaged in 1963, Freda took over and remained the secretary until the end. Freda met The Beatles first way back in the days when they were playing The Cavern Club in Liverpool and was actually one of the Cavernites – a group of protesters fighting to keep the Cavern from closing down in both 1963 and 1966 (it was eventually destroyed in 1973 and later rebuilt across the street from the original location). When The Beatles sent their first Christmas flexi-disc message to their fan club members in 1963, Freda was mentioned by George Harrison, as heard here:

Xmas 1963 Beatles message (excerpt) - George Harrison

Note: After playing, click the play/pause button again to keep it from playing simultaneously with the interview below.

Another of the assistants mentioned, named as Anne Collingham, was actually a fictitious entity made up by Beatles public relations man Tony Barrow, to serve as the head of the fan club. By 1967, Freda had taken over the full running of the club and also worked for Beatles manager Brian Epstein’s NEMS Enterprises, as well as The Beatles own company, Apple Corps. Yet with all of her duties, it was Freda in charge of seeing that all of that fan club mail was opened (up to 400 letters a day!), and sending the newsletters and messages to the membership of over 16,000 people.

Freda was a special guest at the New York Metro Fest For Beatles Fans this year, and I had the pleasure of having a quick chat with her. Although I’m sure she has a lot of interesting tales to tell concerning her time with The Beatles, her time was limited with all of the Fest activities that she was a part of, but I was very thankful that we had the chance to talk. As you might expect, Freda is a very sweet person and was an absolute pleasure to speak with. My talk with her is shared below.

Note: The live music and “Fest-ing” in the background was not to be avoided as this is the atmosphere of Beatles Fests (or if it isn’t, there is a problem somewhere!). Nevertheless, Freda’s voice is a little soft so you may have to listen close in spots. Enjoy!

Happy Nat - Freda Kelly
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8 Comments

  • Robin says:

    Freda Kelly is awesome! Thoroughly enjoyed her stories at the Fest this year. Thanks, Freda!

  • David HUTCHISON says:

    What 45 record was Paul holding outside the BBC in about 1963? A photo shows all 4 beatles. You know? I always wondered..

  • Steven Parks says:

    Does anyone know how “Carol Francis Weber” was in relationship to the Beatles? I recently acquired a bunch of photos, autographs, and albums that are signed by the Beatles to Carol. Some are candid pictures of the guys when they were younger, dated early 60’s. Thank you.

  • Andrea says:

    Amazing that she took the time to eventually actually read all of the letters! Thanks for sharing this interview.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Dennis Mitchell has done a new interview with her for the upcoming Breakfast With The Beatles too in case you want to check it out. She’s going to talk about the film, I’m sure.

  • JPMac says:

    Nat and David, I believe the picture David is referring to is the same picture The Beatles use for the “newer” Beatles Live at the BBC cover photo…yes David?

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