The day I met The Beatles - Romford woman’s amazing story

15:00 28 March 2013

The Beatles in June 1963

The Beatles in June 1963

PA Wire/Press Association Images

She may be a sensible grandmother-of-nine now, but 50 years ago last week, Val Taylor, 64, along with pal Pip Smith, 63, were star-seeking schoolgirls who had heard about a concert at Romford’s ABC Cinema.

Pip, left, and best friend Val met the Beatles just before they were famous.Pip, left, and best friend Val met the Beatles just before they were famous.

The gig was after school on Wednesday, March 20, 1963, and the friends, along with another two teens they had just met, casually boarded the entertainers’ bus, in South Street. They got three autographs from a band of four - John, Paul and Ringo - but the names meant nothing to them. Just three months later the group, known as The Beatles, returned to play the Odeon Cinema, in Romford. Here Val, from Mawney Road, Romford, recalls the events, and the day she helped Paul McCartney carry his bags to the backstage door.

“My friend, Pip, and I were 14 years-old at the time and attended Chase Cross Girls’ School (now Bower Park). We decided to catch a bus into Romford after school and wait outside the ABC Cinema to try and get a glimpse of some of the “stars” and maybe some autographs. We werent allowed to go to the show, however, as our parents thought we were too young!

Val during the Swinging SixtiesVal during the Swinging Sixties

“We duly waited outside the ABC cinema, with two other girls who I think were from Petits Lane School (now Marshalls Park). Eventually, a coach pulled up and all the performing artists were on it (not that we knew who any of them were!). The four of us girls were allowed to get on the coach and we went up and down, asking for autographs. There was no hysteria, no screaming, and none of us really knew who was who.

“For this reason, I ended up with two autographs from Paul McCartney, along with John Lennon and Ringo Starr. I missed George somehow or I would have had the whole set! I still have the autographs in my autograph book, which I treasure.

“Pip and I helped Paul carry his bags off the coach and up to the stage door. We asked him if we could come in and he said he didn’t think the doorman would allow it!

Girls went crazy for the original boybandGirls went crazy for the original boyband

“The next time The Beatles came to Romford was a totally different matter. I queued outside the Odeon from 5.30am for tickets and a photo of us was featured in the Recorder I believe. I was wearing a black and white check “jockeys cap” (cringe!) We had front row seats and I remember Ringo nodding and smiling at us, which of course, sent us into fits of screaming!

“In those days, there were numerous tours featuring all the pop groups performing at the same gig. I think we saw just about everyone who was popular in the 60s ranging from The Stones, Johnny Kid & The Pirates, The Hollies, Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Searchers, Billy J Kramer & The Dakotas and of course, The Beatles.

“Pip and I both still live in Romford and meet up regularly. We clearly remember that afternoon after school when we met the Beatles and I think we both secretly were annoyed we were in our school uniforms!”


Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00

A look back at the biggest local stories from this week 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

Yesterday, 10:00
Athlete Christine Ohuruogu visited her secondary school St Edwards Church of England School in Romford to present a piece of the London 2012 Olympic track.

A former Olympic athlete wants to encourage young people to aim high as she presented her school with a piece of track from the London 2012 games.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A theatre has taken a bold step to ensure that suffering from dementia should not be an obstacle to enjoying the excitement and delight of a stage 

Saturday, October 22, 2016
From left jewellery students Carol Carne, Gina Savill-Turner, Jo Golledge, chainmail queen Linda Parkyn. Daphne Freeman and tutor Carol Allen at the Fairkytes Arts Centre.

It started life in the mid-18th century as a private house for occupants including Joseph Fry, son of the famous prison reformer Elizabeth Fry.

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Student Alice and reporter Chloe Farand talking about the care suite at Havering Sixth Form College

Chloe Farand meets Havering Sixth Form College’s mental health officer and the care team, who support students day to day

Saturday, October 22, 2016
Ardleigh Green Road, Photo: Google Maps

CCTV footage of two men sought in connection with an incident where a woman was robbed and dragged along a pavement has been released by police.

Friday, October 21, 2016
Residents from Orchard Village warn against plans for 750 homes in New Road, Rainham

People angered by a host of problems on their estate have staged a protest about the housing association as it presented new plans for 750 homes.

Friday, October 21, 2016
Police were called after reports of an incident at the Thomson travel agency in Upminster this morning

Police are attending an incident at a travel agents with reports that the building has been cordoned off.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists

News from your area


Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.


£3,000 goes a long way at Boots

Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Kit yourself out and go Apple mad!

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now