When Graham Ashworth first started coming to Fleetwood Full Gospel Church (he “professed Christ”, i.e. responded to the after-sermon appeal for people to “give their hearts to the Lord”, on Sun. 7 Jul. 1968), he was going out with a petite, elfin-faced girl called Susan. They went to discotheques and danced to Motown music together, and she rode pillion on Graham’s motor scooter. As he got more involved in the things of God, these other activities dropped off, and Sue was dropped too.
However, it is recorded that on Sun. 24 Nov. 1968,
Three p[rofessed] C[hrist]: Denise, Susan (ex-Graham’s) [and] her sister. Praises to God!…She was friends with a girl called Sharon, very pretty of face, taller and therefore bigger all round than Sue, apart from at one place (or two!): at the bust Sharon was disappointingly diminutive.
On Thu. 12 Dec. 1968, presumably at the—
Prayer Meeting… [I] learned [that] Sharon fancies me.Apart from the reservation just expressed, I found her quite fanciable, too—quite agreeable to look at; Sun. 15 Dec. 1968:
Sharon not bad.This comment is repeated on Sat. 21 Dec. 1968:
Sharon is after me; she’s not so bad, really!There was a—
Carol practice—a rehearsal at church for the Christmas “Carol Demonstration” to be held the next day, so it is perhaps there that Sharon came to my notice again.
Sun. 22 Dec. 1968:
Even[ing: It was the] Carol Demonstration; [it] didn’t go down too bad[ly]. Sharon, Susan P[ipe]: not bad!Sun. 29 Dec. 1968:
G[ospel] S[ervice]: Went into the kitchen, 2 girls, Sue and Sharon. What a shock! So was in cold sweat throughout G[ospel] S[ervice]. Afterwards, talked to Sue and Sharon. I fancy Sue, tried to chat her up…Presumably the force of my words is: “I went into the kitchen (perhaps to get a drink of water) not expecting to see anyone in there, but when I opened the door, I suddenly found myself exposed to the charms of not one, but two pretty girls there.”
Sun. 5 Jan. 1969, original entry:
G[ospel S[ervice]… Sue and Sharon [were] in front of me. Sue kept looking round. I was v[ery] nervous. [I] asked her, “Will you go out with me?” She said, “Yes, but what about Sharon?” She then went and tried to arrange [a] foursome. I objected mildly. Anyway, when I looked again she was going off towards Maurice’s van [to get a lift] home. I was therefore a little disappointed and let down… [I] wrote [a] letter to Sue: “Meet me [on] Wed[nesday at] 8.00pm if interested in [a] twosome.”…Re-write dated 14 Nov. 1969:
In the evening Gospel Service, I was very nervous indeed; Susan Pipe, on whom I have a crush, was sitting in front of me, and kept looking round. Sharon was sitting next to her. I was nervous and shaking. After Pastor had finished preaching… I spoke to Susan, getting her, as far as possible in a crowded church hall, on her own. We were behind Nando; I was sitting and she standing. I asked her, “Will you go out with me?” The nervous feeling was at a peak, making speech and breathing a little difficult. She said she would, but “what about Sharon?” (Sharon at that time liked me and wanted to go out with me.) So she went and tried to arrange a foursome. I objected to this in the left-hand cloakroom, pretending to strangle her in fun. “How gorgeous she is!” I thought then.Mon. 6 Jan. 1969 (again in two versions):
Work… Told Vin of Sue, 14. Posted letter to Sue.
At work I told Vincent Senior about Susan, how she is only fourteen…The information that Sue was only 14 was to be confidential; in particular, he was not to tell Steve Hutson, another fellow student apprentice there at the English Electric Company, Preston.
Wed. 8 Jan. 1969:
Work.—Home: Pastor and Mrs. [Smith were] there. [We] talked… also of girls—Susan “is not saved,” said Pastor. It came out: “I’m going to see her tonight.” [I] went [to] Squires Gate [from] 8.00pm to about 8.20pm. Then [I came back] home, feeling v[ery] cold, when she didn’t show [up]. [I] went [to the] New Church around 9.40pm Graham [was] there; [I] told him and Peter B[lundell]. Graham said, “I’ll see her.”…While we were talking about some of the girls who had started to come to the church, Susan Pipe was mentioned, and Pastor simply stated, “That girl is not saved.” She had, as I have written, been looking round, but Pastor reckoned that she had been talking and giggling in the sermon, paying no attention, having no interest. He was probably more perceptive than to merely look on these external things. And he was eventually proved right when her “conversion” turned out only to be temporary. I had to confess at that point that I was going to see her tonight. With hindsight, I should have said, “I have arranged to see her.” As it happened, she had no intention of keeping the arrangement.
This was at the time when we were busy preparing the new church in Elm Street; we planned shortly to move there from Lowther Road.
Thu. 9 Jan. 1969:
[I] went [to the] Prayer Meeting. [I] talked to various girls. Linda: “She likes you, but [is] worried about Sharon.” Edwina: “She’s flighty—has [a] boyfriend but likes you. Recommend: Go with Sharon, who likes you and is reliable.” [I] also [spoke to] Andrea.The diary then says,
[I] decided:—but I didn’t in fact decide anything. What I did was sum up the merits and demerits of Sue and Sharon.
Sue: V[ery] attractive, sexy; the prospect of going with her is exciting. But: Unreliable, flighty. Sharon: Nice but not as captivating as Sue. Reliable, good for [a] steady girl[friend]. I am undecided. [I] told all this to Sue Dewhurst.At least my contemplation of these two lovelies was lightening my spirits to the extent that I wasn’t hankering after Audrey for the moment; I was even prepared to say in effect that I didn’t want her any more. She had had her chance; now it was too late. However, if Audrey had suddenly come into the house and told me she loved me, I would have dropped all thoughts of the other two in an instant. And after the beginning of February, when mention of Sue dries up, Audrey comes back into the forefront of my mind and my longings.
From Fri. 10 Jan. 1969 to Sun. 12 Jan. 1969 I visited Chris, who was living in Billericay.
Aft[ernoon]: [I took the] train home… About 10pm [I] rang Edwina. “Anything to report?” I said.
Mon. 13 Jan. 1969:
Work… Wanted all day to see Sue. Rang Chris to say: “Come this weekend.” Even[ing]: Went [to the] New Church; told Peter B[lundell] about Sue…Tue. 14 Jan. 1969:
Work… Longing to see Sue, so much so, that [with the] “hollow” feeling all day, [I] didn’t eat much dinner.Wed. 15 Jan. 1969:
[Work]… Wanted much to see Sue; consequently, didn’t have any dinner… [Evening:] Went [to] B[lack]pool. Sue’s Dad told me that she had eye trouble, [was] in bed with it. I was sad and disappointed because: 1.this was so unexpected; 2.I could not see her; 3.and will I have to go through all this longing for the rest of the week? [I] went [to] Graham’s; left confused: Sue’s words say she likes me a lot, thinks about me. That’s what she said [on] Sun[day]. [But] Graham [reported that she told him]: “I won’t go out with him because of Sharon.” I am uneasily trusting Sue’s words. [But I’m] worried: I’ve been messing about for two weeks; will this continue? [I] felt v[ery] selfish because my immediate thoughts were for my own misfortune; however, [I] then thought about her tenderly and prayed that she might soon be well. [I] wrote [a] letter with tender, sympathetic words…Thu. 16 Jan. 1969:
Work… [I’m] worried [be]cause of Sue; is she brushing [me] off, or was she sincere on Sun[day].?…Fri. 17 Jan. 1969:
Work… Even.: Phoned up and got a message from Sue. Went to a boarding house where she was staying all alone. About half an hour with her. Told her I liked her v. much and that I’d missed her. Thanked me for “nice letter”. Kissed her lips and neck affectionately. This was v. satisfying. I felt v. happy tonight. Moreover, it was without lust. She is v. pretty; her breasts and body are beautifully shaped. She is lovely and desirable, and my kisses were sincere. Then [I] went [to the] station; met Chris. [We] came back [to where Sue was] for coffee. She put on perfume and did her hair — lovely! x ! She’s lovely, scatterbrained and giggly.Re-write dated 14 Nov. 1969:
I told her that I liked her very much and that I’d missed her. She thanked me for my “nice letter”. I kissed her lips and neck affectionately, and held her. She was affectionate, too. This was very satisfying; I felt very happy this night. Moreover, it was without lust; my thoughts and desires were pure and lovely; she really looked beautiful and my desires and thoughts were tender and without excessive sexual desire. Susan is very pretty; her breasts and figure are beautifully shaped. Her hair, her face, her eyes, her lips are delectable. She is lovely and desirable, and my kisses were sincere.Sat. 18 Jan. 1969:
Opening of [the] New Church. Large numbers [of people were] there. [There was a] march from [the] Old to [the] New Church. [And there were] good meetings, aft[ernoon] and even[ing]. Wed[nesday]’s worries about being messed about came back when Sue didn’t show [up]. [I] phoned her…The meetings would have struck me as good, if I had not been preoccupied with anxieties about Sue. [See The History of the Full Gospel Church in Fleetwood: Chapter 4. “Where Moses stood…”]
Sun. 19 Jan. 1969:
Aft[ernoon]: [I] saw Chris off. Even[ing]: Sue came and sat with Sharon and not with me. I was angry. [I] tried to talk to her before [the] meeting. She said, “See me after.” She—embarrassed (presumably)—turned her back on me afterward. I was sad because she is so lovely, but relieved because after yesterday’s message I felt unsure in my mind as to whether this was God’s will. This also occurred to me last week. [I] felt that I might have to finish with her; therefore, [I feel] relieved because this has happened, thus avoiding [the] possibility of disobeying God… Not wishing to be lonely, I asked, with much trepidation, Sharon to go out with me. [I] immediately regretted it, [I] don’t like her at all compared with Sue. [I] FELT LIKE KICKING MYSELF—what am I going to do now? [There was an] uneasy time, walking with her. [I] said, “I made a mistake. I am sorry. I feel lousy about it.”…This would suggest that I asked Sharon to go out with me, regretted it, so finished with her after a brief and uneasy walk with her. But an additional note says that my words were—
…concerning Sue, but it’s not true.I can’t remember what I meant by this.
Mon. 20 Jan. 1969:
Work… Told Vin about Sue… Wrote letter to Sue, with tears in eyes. Not so bad a day; missing Sue, but not enough to cry…Tue. 21 Jan. 1969:
Work. Vin told Steve Sue was 14. I didn’t mind and told him it was all right when he apologised fervently… Posted letter to Sue, morn[ing]…So Vincent let the cat out of the bag. As soon as the words left his lips, he shut his mouth and looked at me. Steve guffawed, and cried out incredulously: “FOURTEEN?!”—exactly the reaction I had anticipated and Vincent had understood when I asked him not to tell Steve.
Sun. 26 Jan. 1969:
G[ospel] S[ervice]: Sue came. [She] sat with me, [so I was] pleased. [She] gave me [a] letter afterward…
Dear: I would like you to promise me one thing: if you are going to read this letter, please don’t show it to anyone. When I received your last letter I felt very upset. Please, John, I do think a lot about you. It just won’t work unless you go out with Sharon. I myself feel awful, as you can imagine. At least would you sit next to Sharon and myself in church. Maybe one day everything will work out for you. That day must be near, John… I never laugh at your letter[s], John. I have kept every single letter so far. Please come and talk to me after church. Write to me in the week, if you wish. Love—God bless: Susan.Mon. 27 Jan. 1969:
Work. Home: [I] wrote Sue [a] letter, saying: “Thanks for [your] letter, etc. Why must I go with Sharon? Please come [to the] Bible Study.” [I] prayed [in the] morn[ing] that she (Sue) would want to go out with me…I have hopefully now, many years on, learned the lesson, that this prayer NEVER gets answered!
Tue. 28 Jan. 1969:
Work… Bible Study: Pastor gave [an] excellent word on Patience. How thankful to God I am that he has given us someone who expounds his word so well! I felt that I understood well what God intended to say: I have been too preoccupied with sadness over Audrey, also Sue; also Sue’s delights have been taking my mind off God. [So I] prayed.Sat. 1 Feb. 1969:
[I] went [to the] Test[imon]y Meeting. [I] learnt [that] Graham [has been] going with Sue since last Sat[urday], [but that he] might finish [with her. I] felt a bit jealous and uneasy.Sun. 2 Feb. 1969:
Even[ing]: [I] went [to the] G[ospel] S[ervice]… Afterwards, [I] didn’t immediately talk to Sue, but saw her and Sharon later. [I] walked up as far as West View with them. We talked flippantly. Sue is v[ery] attractive in appearance, but not in her ways. [I then] went [to the] Woods’, where Ken’s good group [was] practising. [I got a] lift [home] off Graham [who played guitar in Ken’s group, so I] heard both sides of [the] “Graham–Sue/ Discotheque Affair”.When I wrote this, I assumed I would remember what this meant. I haven’t. Perhaps I heard on Saturday that Graham had taken Sue to, or met her at, a discotheque, and was now going out with her; and now Graham’s version of events was different.
Chris wrote to me on 5 Feb. 1969:
Things don’t sound all that good between you and Sue by what you said in your letter. She hasn’t gone and packed you in, has she? Wouldn’t have thought she would by the looks of her carrying on that Friday night. She seemed quite a nice kid really, didn’t she? Still, some girls are a bit odd, aren’t they?—like friend Jacqueline, she was a bit of a weirdo, wasn’t she?He also wrote to me on 27 Feb. 1969:
Sorry to hear that the Susan affair turned into such a fiasco. It seems as though she’s best left alone, doesn’t it?—like you’ve said. It’s surprising how deceptive first impressions can be of people, isn’t it? She seemed quite a nice kid that night I met her. I can never understand girls like that, though.
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