Remember When: Frank dispenser

Judging at the Evening News Dress the Doll competition in 1970
Judging at the Evening News Dress the Doll competition in 1970
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HE’S rather faded from fame since his Some Mother Do ’Ave ’Em heyday, but when he visited Edinburgh back in 1973, actor Michael Crawford was a household name with the antics of his accident-prone TV persona Frank Spencer attracting audiences of millions.

So it was rather a coup for the Evening News when the actor, accompanied by his on-screen wife Michelle Dotrice, who played Betty, arrived in the city to distribute parcels to old folk and children as part of the paper’s 1973 Christmas appeal.

OOH BETTY: Michael Crawford and Michele Dotrice from Some Mothers Do Ave Em hand out gifts donated to the Evening News Christmas appeal at the Sick Kids  hospital in 1973

OOH BETTY: Michael Crawford and Michele Dotrice from Some Mothers Do Ave Em hand out gifts donated to the Evening News Christmas appeal at the Sick Kids hospital in 1973

Queensberry House Hospital was the couple’s first port of call, where they had patients crying with laughter with their banter, before they travelled on to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children to deliver gifts such as cowboy and Indian figures.

The annual Christmas appeal has been a part of the Evening News for decades, helping to spread a little seasonal magic to those who aren’t always having the jolliest of Yules.

This year, the Evening News teamed up with Lothian Buses to create a Santa’s grotto which toured the Capital. The campaign was supported by Jenners, Dobbies garden centres, sports store Decathalon and Tesco.

In 1967, we teamed up with the Odeon cinemas for a campaign to raise funds for the infirm elderly and sick youngsters. One of the highlights was a carol concert at the Usher Hall. And celebrities were in force that year as well – in this case, Ronnie Corbett, standing in for singer Frankie Vaughan, who’d cancelled due to a throat infection.