Sixties band re-forms to help Norfolk woman celebrate her birthday
Jiving and cheering, with classic rock and roll roaring in her ears, Jenny Spells was transported back to the swinging sixties after her favourite band re-formed especially for her – more than 40 years after they split.
With her 65th birthday and retirement just around the corner, there was no one she wanted to book more for her party than The Vulcans, a Suffolk-based band which had a huge following across East Anglia in the 1960s.
The group, now scattered across the country, went down a storm in Swaffham despite having had time for only two rehearsals – but there was a gap in the line-up which couldn't be filled.
Jenny's ex-husband, Doug, 65, who was the band's bass player, died suddenly last year before the group could re-form.
'He would have been over the moon if he'd had the opportunity to go to the reunion,' she said.
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'He was aware they were thinking of getting together, but of course he didn't manage it.'
A number of guests at the party could remember the band performing at dances held at the Assembly Rooms, in Swaffham Market Place, during one of their regular visits to Norfolk in the 1960s.
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'It was a fantastic night. I'll never forget it,' Jenny said.
'They sounded just the same and we were dancing like we used to. It was lovely getting together and re-living it.'
The Vulcans formed in Haverhill, Suffolk, around 50 years ago at about the time Jenny and Doug became a couple.
From humble beginnings playing village halls – sick with nerves – the group found great success performing at holiday camps, air bases and packed ballrooms, sometimes attracting audiences of up to 5,000 people.
It developed a loyal following of fans, going on to make a demo disc and support some of the big names at the time, including The Small Faces, The Merseybeats and The Fortunes.
Jenny and the other wives and girlfriends would travel up and down the country with the band, attending all the gigs.
'I was very involved and would take all the bookings,' she said.
'They all had day jobs as well and it became too much.
'It was a shame they had to give up, but that's the way it went. Doug and I both missed it afterwards.'
The group split for good in 1968 and, with their focus firmly on work and families.
Jenny went on to marry Doug and have two children, moving to Swaffham in 1978 and eventually divorcing around 15 years ago.
A black and white photograph of the band printed in a local newspaper eventually brought The Vulcans back together around 18 months ago.
Haverhill historian Neil Lanham was researching the group and decided to make a DVD about 'the fun, adventures and rise of a local rock and roll band.'
Mr Spells was aware of the piece in the paper, but died suddenly in March last year before the group could get back together.
The Vulcans had an initial reunion without drummer Richard Turner and performed again as a group once they had tracked him down in Ipswich – much to the delight of Jenny.
'I said 'you have got to have another reunion at some stage, why not combine it with my birthday and retirement?'.
'It started off as a joke, but they rehearsed for a few hours and sounded really good,' she said.
'They got to Swaffham a few hours early on the day to have another practice and they were brilliant at the party.
'I couldn't get over it.'
Jenny, a radiology secretary at Lakenheath, still has a passion for music and is looking forward to travelling after she retires next week.
'I've been very lucky with the experiences I've had,' she added.