This is the second part of an award nomination letter written by my Mum that outlines some of Dad’s achievements. It puts so much of his work into context and order and will be enormously useful for me in compiling Dad’s archives in a meaningful way.
“Achievements between 1st August 1992 and 31st August 1993
Wilf Mitford commenced the above year by releasing an album on cassette called ‘Geordie Greats‘, recorded by his family folk group The Mitford Family, on his own label ‘Mitford Music’ in August 1992. The sixteen tracks on the album included ten of Wilf’s original songs on the theme of Newcastle upon Tyne, together with six traditional songs associated with the area. Wilf wrote his new songs about the area to redress the balance after all of the bad publicity the area received following the Tyneside riots in September 1991.
Wilf and his family folk group also gave their first-ever performance of new songs in August 1992 at a concert in the Benwell area of Newcastle which was attended by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle.
Benwell was one of the areas badly hit by the riots the previous year. Also in August 1992, one of Wilf’s songs on cassette, ‘Tall Ships on the Tyne ’93’ received extensive airplay in the Massachusetts area of the United States of America when the Tall Ships visited Boston that month.
Back on Tyneside, as Newcastle United’s Football team, known as The Magpies, began their battle to reach the Premier League, Wilf wrote a song called ‘Magpie Mania’ which chronicled their eleven wins out of eleven games at the start of the season. The song was played at their home ground of St James Park which resulted in interest of the group and Wilf’s songwriting by The Journal newspaper. Tony Jones of The Journal referred to The Mitford Family as the most prolific recording artists in the North East.
In November 1993 they released ‘Geordie Greats Volume Two‘ which included nine of Wilf’s compositions on a North East theme. Although the group had now called it a day, Wilf continued writing songs and formed his own music publishing company, Mitford Music.
In April 1993, ‘Geordie Greats Volume Three‘ was released, which included another twelve of Wilf’s songs and completed the trilogy of ‘Geordie Greats’ albums which featured fifty Geordie songs over thirty of them written by Wilf Mitford.
In May 1993 he wrote ‘Save Our Shipyards’ in support of the campaign to save the Swan Hunter Shipyards. His recording of the song was played on Radio Newcastle in June 1993 during an extensive interview about his songwriting with Mark Ecclestone.
In July 1993 there was renewed interest in his ‘Tall Ships on the Tyne ’93’ song when the Tall Ships Race Festival commenced. Also that same month, the Newcastle Discover Exhibition in Newcastle decided to use Wilf’s songs and recordings as background music.”