Got to get you into my life: Loyal PA to The Beatles, Freda Kelly, is finally telling her story
Sunday 03 March 2013
They were the biggest band in the world and she was their biggest fan. "You were there in the beginning," George Harrison told her. "You're there at the end." Freda Kelly was The Beatles' PA for more than a decade. She ran their fan club and was a trusted member of their inner circle. Yet her story has remained untold – until now.
Breaking her silence for the first time in 50 years, Ms Kelly gives a unique insight into the band she idolised. Just 16 when she saw them play at the Cavern in the early Sixties, a year later she was working for the band and part of the extended Beatles family.
Ringo Starr's mother, Elsie, "was the nearest to a mother figure for me. I just adored her." Paul McCartney's dad, "Uncle Jim", took her drinking, and George Harrison's father, Harry, taught her ballroom dancing.
As for John Lennon's aunt, Mimi: "It wasn't that you were frightened of Mimi: you just watched your p's and q's."
According to Paul McCartney's stepmother, Angie McCartney: "The Beatles saw her as a sister and the families saw her as a daughter."
Now a grandmother in her late sixties, Ms Kelly beams as she remembers having "crushes" on each of the Fab Four. But did things go any further than that? Speaking in a new documentary, Good Ol' Freda, named after a dedication by The Beatles on one of their records, she laughs: "No!" Then she quickly adds: "Pass. There are stories but I don't want anybody's hair falling out or turning curly. That's personal!" The film has its world premiere at the SWSX festival in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.
Regret at failing to answer her late son's questions about The Beatles, and wanting to leave a legacy for her two-year-old grandson, Niall, prompted Ms Kelly to speak up in the end. "I would like him to be proud of me and see how exciting my life was in the Sixties and the fun I had."
She could "visualise the devastation" after the death of the band's manager, Brian Epstein, in 1967. "He was the anchor for everything." Towards the end of the Sixties "the penny was dropping with me that we haven't got any Beatles as a group any more".
At the age of 27, pregnant with her second child, she quit and lived "a normal life like everybody else".
Still living in Liverpool, and working as a secretary, she is tearful thinking about old times. "It is shocking how many people have gone that I knew. Fame and money doesn't mean anything; all the wealth doesn't cure cancer does it? I worked with a lot of good people, I did. I loved them."
But her memories also bring a twinkle to her eyes as she declares: "I'm still a Beatle fan. So although there's a 50-year gap since I started it, I still like to think that I'm back where I was in the beginning."
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
The Fall, series 2, episode 3 – TV review: The Gillian Anderson drama is starting to push the realms of plausibility, but who cares?
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Plebgate: Andrew Mitchell’s reputation in tatters as judge rules he used the word ‘pleb’