Marian Keery (on the right) Word had leaked that the Beatles were coming to Minehead and my sister, Sheena, who was three years older and much braver, said, “My friends and I are bunking off school at lunchtime to see them – come on!” I was a very obedient kid, but I couldn’t not go, because I was fiendish about the Beatles.
They were in town for two days filming A Hard Day’s Night. This picture was taken on the first day, when there was hardly any security and not that many of us there – compared with the following day, when the school gave everyone permission to go. Beatlemania was just at its height and I had seen them in concert the year before. I knew every single word of every single one of their records. I still do.
I remember getting over the fence, having to jump a ditch and climb up the other side with Cynthia, my best friend. She was taller than me so I hung on to her, trying to pull myself up. We couldn’t believe we were so close but there was still a barrier between us. We would have given anything to get on the train or for them to come off. I think they were quite interested in us. All this attention was still pretty gobsmacking to them.
Sheena and I recounted the day to our parents that evening. My mum could tell I was worried about getting into trouble with school the next day, and reassured me. She said, “Some things in life are more important than going to a history class. Today was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” This was unlike her. She was quite strict. I remember her turning off Top Of The Pops when Jimi Hendrix came on. But she loved the Beatles.
Cynthia Wilkinson (on the left) This is probably the naughtiest thing I have done in my life. I can’t recall anything more exciting for us youngsters growing up in Somerset in the 60s. It is the only time Marian and I would have ever dared bunk off school, but when were the Beatles going to come to Minehead again?
Marian and I lived in the same village of Washford and went to school together from the age of five. As best friends, we used to tell each other our troubles and dance in our kitchens to Otis Redding and the Beatles.
As the pair of us stood on the sidelines, having spotted the Beatles in their stationary train car, Marian and I just looked at each other and said, “Let’s go.” We headed across the railway track, not thinking for one moment about safety. We were 13 and 14, and didn’t think about danger then. We just thought, “Wow, there they are. Oh my God!”
I remember them looking at us through the window. I thought Paul was the best looking. You can see my hand going up to where Paul’s is, and I just started knocking on the window. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I’ve told everyone since, “There was only a piece of glass between Paul McCartney and me!”
We stood there for about five minutes, jumping up and down, screaming, being ridiculous teenagers. Eventually, knowing we were doing something wrong, we stopped. I never saw the Beatles again, so this is my claim to fame. I’ve been telling my children about it for years.
• Interview: Abigail Radnor
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