The Diary: Vinyl countdown has happy ending

Mum and Son Jim Ramsden and Margaret Heatherage with some of the 1000 78rpm records they rescued through the Star Newspaper. � Paul David Drabble.
Mum and Son Jim Ramsden and Margaret Heatherage with some of the 1000 78rpm records they rescued through the Star Newspaper. � Paul David Drabble.
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It was something of a vinyl countdown – but The Diary was just in the nick of time.

Retired Upperthorpe solicitor Vincent Hale had planned to throw away his vast collection of classical records unless someone took them off his hands. The 82-year-old had more than 1,000 discs featuring everyone from Beethoven to Bach, Handel to Heddle Nash. But, because they ran at 78rpm – the speed of fashion pre-1950 – no-one and nowhere seemed to want them.

He, quite literally, couldn’t give them away.

That was until The Diary featured his unusual predicament last month.

Now reader and fellow record obsessive Jim Ramsden – a man with a van and four 78rpm gramophones made in the Thirties – has come forward after seeing our story.

The 48-year-old of Greystones Road, Whiston, Rotherham, was needled by the thought Vincent might just throw the priceless collection away. So he heroically volunteered to add them to his own not inconsiderable stockpile.

There’s a few duplicates but Jim’s even found a charity shop – The Extra Care Charitable Trust in Effingham Street, Rotherham – which is one of the few places which still takes and sells the old style vinyls.

Everyone’s a winner. Just call The Diary your modern Swap Shop. Minus Noel Edmonds, of course.

“I live with my mum and we spend our evenings listening to our records,” says Jim, a full-time carer for mother Margaret Heatherage. “The problem is you can’t buy the parts for old 78rpm gramophones any more, so there are not many people who want these records.

“But one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Me and mum still think that classical music sounds best on the old vinyl so when we saw Vincent was thinking of throwing them away there was no way we could let that happen.”

Among the records are compositions by both the European greats – Mozart makes several appearances – and homegrown stars, like Thomas Beecham. Most come without anything so gaudy as photography or production details on the plain cardboard sleeves. The only concession to modern music is Eartha Kitt (popular: 1950s).

“They’re wonderful,” says Margaret, a retired cleaner. “I’ve loved my music since my grandparents would play to us every Sunday in their front room. “There’s some songs among this collection I’ve not heard since then.”