Love me do...and we still do in South Yorkshire after 50 years

003060 - The Beatles at the Doncaster Gaumont Cinema on 10th December 1963
003060 - The Beatles at the Doncaster Gaumont Cinema on 10th December 1963
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WE loved them, yeah, yeah, yeah.

The Beatles played their first ever gig in South Yorkshire 50 years ago today.

John, Paul and George and Ringo first plugged into their amplifiers in South Yorkshire on August 8, 1962, without a number one hit to their name.

A year later they were global superstars.

The fab four played their first show at Doncaster Co-op Ballroom, on the corner of Duke Street and St Sepulchre Gate. At the time they were relatively unknown.

They were excused their regular Cavern Club Wednesday-night appearance so they could fulfil the booking in Doncaster, 86 miles across the Pennines.

It turned out to be one of five Doncaster shows.

Ray Nortrop, a Doncaster DJ at the time, admits he was not one of the lucky few who can count himself among those who were at the Co-op gig.

But he was one of those who caught them at one of their later shows, in February 1963.

He said: “I saw them at the St James Baths, and it was a wild night.

“They had just had a hit at the time, and were just one of the 60s bands, because they were not global at that point. Back then I used to go to lots of shows.

“The Beatles show was absolutely deafening.”

He recalls the Beatles and other bands would retire to the Old Barrel cafe in French Gate after the shows because it stayed open late into the early hours.

Ray said the Beatles also came to the Gaumont in Doncaster later the same year - when they were in the audience for a Little Richard show at the venue.

Technical theatrical consultant Guy Forshaw, of Wheatley Hills, was aged two at the time and was not at the show.

But he later worked with a handyman who was at the show, called Ken, who was a keen collector of memorabilia. He worked with him at the ballroom, when it was later called Romeo and Juliets, in 1977.

Ken kept a ticket from the show, which he later gave to Guy.

Guy said: “He used to go to the venue when it was the Co-Op Ballroom to dance and he picked this stub up the day after the concert. He didn’t attend. He picked it up not because he liked the Beatles but he was a collector of this sort of thing.

“Ken said the support band were arguing with the Beatles over whether the drum kits could be placed side by side as the stage was very small. The concert, he said, very nearly didn’t go ahead because of it.

“The maintenance manager at the venue told him the Beatles had been concerned people would not be able to see their names on the drum kit. In the end they brought some posters up from the foyer to put either side of the stage so people knew who it was.”

The band returned on February 5, 1963, to the Doncaster Gaumont as part of their first nationwide tour, at the bottom of a six-act bill headed by 16-year-old Londoner Helen Shapiro.

They returned on February 20 at Doncaster Swimming Baths. After an appearance on the BBC Parade Of The Pops radio show in London, the Beatles quickly returned 160 miles north to fulfil their evening date in Doncaster.

They were back again on March 22, again at the Gaumount. Their final visit was December 10, again at the Gaumount.