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Beatles Fan Club Secretary to speak at Beatles symposium

She's the stuff that films are made of! Freda Kelly, the official Beatles Fan Club Secretary for the duration of The Beatles' career is coming to Cleveland, MS. She will be the Honored Guest of the symposium presented by GRAMMY Museum of Mississippi and Delta State University and the film about her life and times with The Beatles, "Good Ol' Freda," will be shown on Saturday, 2 April. After the film, Ms. Kelly will speak to attendees and will answer questions about her long friendship and working relationship with Brian Epstein, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

Freda Kelly, a devoted Beatles fan, Cavern Club regular, and secretary at NEMS Enterprises, took over the operation of The Beatles Fan Club in 1962 from its founder, Bobby Brown. Initially, Kelly ran the fan club from her home as Bobby Brown had done. However, in 1963 (when sacks and sacks of mail began arriving each day) Freda's father suggested she find a more appropriate location! Ms. Kelly approached her employer, The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, about the possibility of transferring the Fan Club to his Liverpool business office, and he agreed. For the next 12 years, Freda ran the club and worked tirelessly for Epstein and the lads in many capacities.

Freda Kelly at NEMS

In the spring of 1964, when most of Brian's business was transferred to a larger location in London near the London Palladium, Freda was one of the few trusted employees who remained behind in Liverpool to "hold down the fort." She met weekly with George's mother, Louise Harrison; John's Auntie Mimi Smith; Ringo's mum, Elsie Greaves, and Paul's father, Jim, to answer the deluge of fan mail that never stopped coming and coming! Furthermore, she served as the liaison between NEMS in the North and NEMS in London.

Always extremely private and humble, Kelly was quite reticent when filmmaker Ryan White approached her about sharing her memoirs and photos for a film about her life. Only the desire to let her grandson know about who she was "besides a grandma" urged her to agree to the undertaking.

The film was released in 2013 to great acclaim at the South By Southwest Film Festival, and since then, it has won award after award. The Cleveland International Film Festival selected "Good Ol' Freda" as the winner of the Roxanne Mueller Award for "Best Film" and Atlanta Magazine called it "Oscar worthy." "Good Ol' Freda" has been shown all over the world, and fans at The Fest for Beatles Fans in New York, Los Angles, and Chicago as well as fans at the famous Bonnaroo Music Festival have fallen in love with it...and with Freda Kelly.

"One of few documentaries with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the world of music," one critic wrote, and it's true. The film shares rare photos of The Beatles from Kelly's collection and showcases their music. But most importantly, it tells the story of a lady of rare integrity who refused to sell The Beatles' secrets, no matter what she was offered.

Freda kelly at The Cavern

This is a film for families. It teaches honesty, devotion, and trust. And it will be the highlight of the GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and Delta State University's "Beatles 2016: From Cavern to Candlestick Symposium" on April 1-2. Guests will be able to meet Kelly in person, as she travels from Liverpool to be with them all day Friday and Saturday. And they will be able to chat with her about her life after the film Saturday afternoon and purchase autographed DVDs as well.

In addition to Kelly's appearance, GRAMMY Museum Mississippi and Delta State University's Beatles Symposium will host 6 distinguished Beatles experts and authors, 2 Beatles collectors' exhibits, 3 art exhibits, a live band (The Lonely Peppers), and Featured Authors Ivor Davis, who toured with The Beatles in 1964 and Jude Southerland Kessler, author of The John Lennon Series. Tickets for both days are $30 or for both days plus the band concert, $35.

For more information on Freda Kelly, go to the Good Ol' Freda website. For more information on The Beatles 2016: From Cavern to Candlestick Symposium (April 1-2) go to GRAMMY Museum Mississippi.

More information:

• Good Ol' Freda
• GRAMMY Museum Mississippi
• The Beatles and Me On Tour by Ivor Davis
• The John Lennon Series by Jude Southerland Kessler

Related articles:

• Weekend of Beatles activities to highlight Beatles symposium in Mississippi (3/28/16)
• Beatles music expert Bruce Spizer to close Beatles symposium in Mississippi (3/21/16)
• Louisiana lithographer to exhibit at Beatles Symposium (3/14/16)
• Louisiana artist exhibits at Beatles Symposium in Mississippi (3/7/16)
• Noted Beatles author to address Beatles Symposium in Mississippi (2/29/16)

Published January 25, 2016

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