Speaking of a fifth Beatle...
Thelma, the Cavern's much-loved 'ma', dies
A STALWART of the Cavern who watched the birth of Merseybeat and The Beatles has died. Tributes were paid today to Thelma Wilkinson, who ran the snack bar at the Mathew Street club from the day it opened in 1957.
The mother-of-four worked at the Cavern throughout the 1960s and was responsible for creating the rotas for the snackbar and cloakroom attendants, including a certain Priscilla White. Daughter Sandra Curry said: "Mum started at the Cavern when it was a jazz club and worked there right up until the club closed. She was known to people simply as Thelma from the snack bar. She loved the Cavern, it was a major part of her life. She went through the start of the Merseybeat sound and she really loved the music. Mum idolised Gerry Marsden. He used to call her 'ma' and she called him son."
The last time Mrs Wilkinson saw some of the bands from the Cavern was at the funeral of Bob Wooler in 2002. Last year author Mark Lewisohn came to inter-view her for a new book. Mrs Curry, from Allerton, said: "He said it's going to be the biggest he's ever written." Ray McFall, who owned the Cavern during the 1960s, today paid tribute to Mrs Wilkinson. He said: "Thelma was in charge of the snack bar from just about day one when Alan Sytner opened the Cavern as a jazz club, right until it closed. "A lot of the Cavernites will remember her fondly. She was an easy, uncomplicated, friendly lady who did a good job and this news is very sad." Gerry Marsden said: "We treated her like a mum."
Mrs Wilkinson died on Monday at her home in Allerton. She was 84.