Margaret Jones

      Margaret met a boy called Len Garry in a small ice cream and coffee bar on a Saturday in late October of 1955. As he remembers "The cafe was sectioned off into small booths, the front window was covered by a curtain which appeared to be made of knitting needles. Hence we nicknamed the place "The Needles". Sitting in the adjacent booth were two girls chatting and enjoying their ice-creams." The two girls were Margaret and her friend Beryl Woods. It was decided that Len's pal Billy would try and check the girls out. "Bill pretended to go to the counter to ask for something in order to get a view of what they looked like. From his counter position he looked over at me and gave me the thumbs up sign which meant that they looked okay." Len went over to them and introduced himself and his friend Billy Turner, pretending that he was fourteen like his friend, rather than what seemed at the time the unacceptably young thirteen that he really was.

      The four arranged to meet at a youth club for the church on the corner of Ullett road because the girls mentioned that they went there every Friday. "The girls agreed and we parted company... In high spirits we walked back to our homes. I was excited at the thought of having a new girlfriend, although I had not asked Margaret yet. It was just what I needed to boost my enthusiasm for life following the anti-climax of the summer that had gone by." The lads turned up at the Church Youth Club just as it was finishing for the night, lying to the girls who they spotted leaving the church hall that Bill had a sick mother who he needed to look after rather than admitting that church clubs weren't their scene. Luckily their story got a lot of sympathy from Margaret and Beryl was impressed enough with them to suggest they all met up for a walk in the park or a cup of coffee sometime during the week. "We all agreed. The following months Billy and I were occupied seeing our two new girl friends."

      Margaret started meeting up with Len twice a week and this carried on all through the winter as well, and they were sill together by the New year, frequently going out as a foursome with Beryl who was still going out with Bill. They'd go to the cinema - usually the Abbey Cinema by the clock tower where Len's friends John Lennon and Pete Shotton would often meet them - or sometimes to local dances which Len really hated.

      Margaret went out with John a few times too, but Len only found out about this a month after he'd split up with her. And by this time John was back again with Barbara Baker. "John left Barb for a short while and went out with Margaret himself. It seems as though John Lennon has set to go out with every girl that I've been with."

SOURCES: John Paul & Me: Before The Beatles by Len Garry, various Beatles and Lennon biographies.

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