Photo by Terry Cassidy
Dick Greener - Some sad news for those fans who remember the Strawbs Information Service, the newsletters mailed out in self-addressed stamped envelopes by Denise (on the right) and her cousin Sandy (on the left - thanks to Lisa for the photo from her collection). Before Strawbsweb was born, this was the only way for fans to keep up with Strawb-related matters. They produced 59 issues of the SIS newsletter with that familiar signature "Denise and Sandy" between 1986 and 2000 - all those old SIS newsletters are up on Strawbsweb on the fanzines page for anyone who wants to reminisce.
From 1997 onwards, I spent quite a lot of time in their company at Strawbs gigs and on tour - always a lively and somewhat noisy affair and great fun, though I saw less of them after a while - Sandy after she moved out of London to the North, followed later on by Denise to take over a pub in Nuneaton.
Hud called me today and I'm sorry to announce that Sandy passed away on Thursday 14 October. I'm sure all those who remember her will want to pass on their sympathy to Denise. I received the following messages and tributes:
Hud - Sandy Beacock was truly a lady of indomitable spirit. Together with Denise Harper, Sandy worked tirelessly on behalf of The Strawbs for many years, issuing their famous newsletter and organising the sale of their merchandise. In the 1980s they were the main point of contact for Strawbs fans everywhere.
Although Sandy eventually moved to Yorkshire, we have always kept in touch and I was fortunate enough to meet up with her just a few months ago during a High Society gig at Denise's pub in Nuneaton. Needless to say she was delightful company as usual, and it was lovely to have the opportunity to catch up on her news and to reminisce about the past.
Sandy loved life and lived it to the full. None of us will forget the night she and Denise turned up unannounced at The Bottom Line in New York as a 'surprise' for the band.
To me personally, Sandy became a dear friend. She was intelligent and kind and an absolute joy to be around. Sandy, I'll miss your friendship, your warmth and your wonderful sense of humour, but you've left behind the happiest of memories for which I thank you.
Dave Cousins - I am very sad to hear the news of Sandy's demise. She was the ever cheerful face at gigs in the Strawbs' grey period when we could only work occasionally due to my radio commitments. I will miss her.
Tony Hooper - How awful..please pass on my condolences and best wishes to Denise…I'll always remember the pair of them turning up to a New York gig totally out of the blue..gobsmacked or what.
Dave Lambert - I was very sorry to hear of Sandy's passing. Would you please pass on my sincere condolences to Denise and all of Sandy's family.
Terry Cassidy and Madeleine - We were so shocked to hear the sad news about Sandy. What a wonderful person! She was always so good natured and selfless. Her organisational skills were remarkable. We'll miss that cheery smile and whimsical patient look she would give when all around her were in a panic. Nothing was too much trouble when it came to helping others and in the midst of trouble, she would always seem to find a practical solution to which everyone could agree. Sandy and Denise's support for the bands and musicians they loved is legendary. You could be playing at a half empty venue in the back of beyond of some far off galaxy and The Dentrassi Twins would stroll in as if they'd just nipped down to the local pub and then they'd spend the whole evening cheering you on! Such a sad and untimely loss - our hearts go out to her friends and relatives but especially of course, to Denise. Hitching a ride with a Vogon constructor fleet will never be the same again! All our love.
Heather Malcolm - A sad loss. Please pass on my condolences. What a team they were! Sláinte mhath.
Nigel Bennett - Hi Denise, I am one of the Strawbs fans to whom Sandy and Denise are always names that are synonymous with dutifully posting my SAE and waiting for the next instalment of news. Those days are long gone now, but they remain a happy memory. I am therefore saddened to hear the news of Sandy's passing. With the time you both spent bringing us "all the news" etc., I am sure you will have those memories and many more and as a result, will be feeling this loss immensely. May I therefore offer my sympathy to you at this very sad time and also take the moment, to simply add the word of "thanks", for all those SIS newsletters you both provided.
David Passmore - I was deeply saddened to read your email regarding Sandy. I met 'The Girls' many years ago, and on many occasions shared a pint or three, and a chat at gigs all over the country. When Sandy stopped helping Denise, I was lucky enough to assist Denise on several occasions, and to cover some of the gigs that she was not able to do. The girls also used to send me on any fan enquiries, particularly about deleted records, so that I could reply with the information. It was always a pleasure to in their company, and always great fun.
At that time Sandy had just become a head teacher, and I remember how proud she was, having achieved this. I believe both 'girls' were involved with 'Esso' aka David Essex, and 'The Waddies', aka Showaddywaddy, dealing with merchandising and fan info. I would extend my sincere condolences to Sandy's family, to her close friend, Denise, and, of course, The Strawbs. Although I have not seen Denise for some years now, I often wonder where she is now, and how she is, as I did with Sandy. Sandy will be sadly missed by many. She and Denise made a huge contribution to promoting The Strawbs, welcoming fans to gigs and promoting the band and merchandise, both through their invaluable newsletter, and at the live gigs. God bless, Sandy, rest in peace.
Lindsay Sorrell - Such awful news. Sandy (and Denise) have always been such a friendly, helpful pair and during the 90's pre-Witchwood days my friend Christine and I often used to chat with them at the merchandise desk, and I looked forward to receiving Strawbs newsletters from them. I remember some great post-gig sessions with them both present too, in the tours following Chiswick - one night I particularly remember was after a gig in Lowestoft when a crowed of us were still chatting long after the sun had come up the following morning. Even that was surpassed by the Northampton High Society gig which Pete mentioned - Ali, Pete and I returned to Denise's pub next morning at around 10 a.m. to find Sandy, Denise and some others hadn't gone to bed at all and were still going strong, laughing and joking. The minute we walked through the door Sandy and Denise offered to make us all cups of tea. Hospitality and kindness to the max. This really is very sad news.
Gary Sherman - Sincere condolences on such sad news.
Robert Pay - Sad news indeed - Sandy and Denise were crucial in keeping the Strawbs fan family together until the web site. I would never have known where they were playing otherwise. Thoughts with her family - she was too young to leave us. Sadly missed!
Pete Rand - my condolences to Denise - I only had the chance to meet Sandy & Denise earlier this year to see High Society at their pub. It was an excellent affair and they both made me feel very extremely welcome and were really friendly.
Lisa - Oh my girl. I am so sorry to hear of Sandy's passing. The times we spent together were more precious to me than you could ever know. I've thought of you often, and our memories of time spent together are some of my greatest greatest treasures. get in touch. i'm here if you need me. All my love, Lisa (and Taylor)
Ken Stasion - I have never met either, but do recall the news letters. My deepest condolences and sympathies. A great loss.
Simon Carey - I remember them well and the newsletters. Pass on my condolences to Denise please.
Warren Linhart - Sorry to hear this news - I remember those newsletters. It occurred to me reading this that there have been many "departures" from those related to Strawbs. Time does indeed fly by.
David Barrett - That's sad. I did meet them both once or twice at various Strawbs gigs, and I thought their SAE system worked brilliantly -- a very efficient way of doing a newsletter. A dedicated labour of love.
Brian Cairney - Sad to read the news today about Sandy Beacock. She and Denise were the only way, before the internet, to get any info on what the Strawbs were up to during the eighties. [Dick now has - because Brian gave them to him !!] the entire collection of news sheets they produced and mailed out for no profit.
Theo Kuiper - I remember this very well and still saved a few. A friend of me who lives in Grantham sent me often English stamps. Otherwise I couldn't get the news letters. Please send my sympathy to Denise.
Steve Pritchards - I remember Denise & Sandy from some of those 90's gigs, my condolences.
Annette White-Southport - Please pass best wishes & sympathy to Denise. Met her & received loadsof news letters over the years,really looked forward to them. I think she will remember Annette White-Southport.
Adrian the Rock - Really sorry to hear this, please pass on my condolences. It's been a while since I saw Denise and Sandy, but they were indeed a great bush telegraph in the days before the Internet.
Mick Ward - I remember the S.I.S newsletter fondly, from my "ex-pat" days in Sheffield and am so sorry to hear that Sandy has passed away. Please pass my condolances to Denise and Sandy's family.
Alan St. John - I'm so sorry to hear this news. I have fond memories of receiving the SIS newsletter in the early '90's, before my internet days. I still have every copy of the newsletter I received, along with my issues of Jamming. Please convey my sympathies.
Tom Brooking - My sincere condolences to Denise who kept me informed before the net started - very sad as she can't have been that old!
Dave Ensell - I am one of the many people that received the news letters issued by Denise and Sandy. I eagerly looked forward to this post as it as then the only way to know what was going on regarding the Strawbs and friends. I am so sorry to receive this very sad news and please pass on my deepest sympathy to Denise and her family.
Photo by Lisa