The North Wales schoolgirl who met Paul McCartney three times and ate egg and chips at his dad’s home
Deirdre Mahon’s dreams came true when as a teenager in Llandudno she was invited into the Beatle’s family home
Meeting Paul McCartney was every teenager’s dream in the 1960s – and for North Wales school girl Deirdre Mahon the dream came true – not once, but three times.
Deirdre, who was a pupil at the former Loreto College on Llandudno’s West Shore, ended up being given egg and chips by Paul and his family in Heswall on Boxing Day 1965 – and spent Boxing Day 1966 and Valentine’s Day 1967 with the Beatle.
Deirdre, a mum-of-one and gran-of-two who now lives in South Wales, said: “I want to share this story because it highlights the fact that Paul and his family are such amazing, lovely and down to earth people.
“I would so love to meet Paul again one day.”
Deirdre said: “I was 15, from Crosby and at a convent boarding school in Llandudno – so very young and naive.
“I don’t remember how me and my friend, who accompanied me on some visits, got Paul’s father’s address in Heswall but we did, and we used to visit him during school holidays. Eventually, he got to know us and was so friendly and welcoming. He used to invite us in for a cup of tea and a chat: ‘Make sure you get a good education, girls, Paul did.'”
She recalled their first meeting on Boxing Day 1965.
“This was the first time we met Paul,” she said.
“My friend and I decided to go to Heswall to wish Jim a happy Christmas. I had a feeling Paul might be there, so I had bought him a packet of Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes, knowing that was the brand he smoked.
“As we approached the front door we saw a British racing green Aston Martin parked in the front. I knew it! With a trembling hand I knocked on the door. Jim answered. ‘Hello girls, happy Christmas!’
“I said ‘I’ve bought Paul a little Christmas present and was wondering if you could give it to him the next time you see him?’
“’Just a moment,’ he said. A minute later I could see this figure approaching, and I said to my friend ‘Oh my God, it’s Paul!’ He said: ‘Hello, what are you doing standing there? Come in!’
“We stayed with them all afternoon and into the evening. I can’t remember everything but I do remember how they made us feel so welcome – amazing when I think back on it, two 15-year-old girls interrupting their Christmas.
“Although we were a little overwhelmed at first, as the time went on it just felt natural to be part of their family gathering.
“At one point Goodbye My Love by The Searchers came on the TV. Paul commented on how he loved the song and wished he’d written it. His dad then asked Paul to play us the tune that he’d been tinkering with on the piano. So, he started playing this song which was in its ’embryonic’ stage. He said he wanted the harmony to be similar to the Beach Boys. He started singing it, stopping and starting, explaining how he wanted it to sound: ‘She’ll be there, my hands running through her hair…’
“Of course, it became Here, There and Everywhere. We couldn’t wait for the next album (Revolver) to come out to see if it was on there. We recognised it immediately!
“Paul’s stepmother Angela and her daughter, Ruth, who was nearly six, were there too. Ruth explained to us, as she took a big step forward, that she was Paul’s STEPsister!
“Jim asked us if we thought Paul had a good voice, and in a dreamy way we said ‘Oh YES!’ Jim thought, then said, ‘Well, he hasn’t got a great voice but he does sing with feeling’.
“At teatime we got up to go but they insisted we stay and join them. They apologised that they didn’t have enough steak to go around and would egg, chips and peas be OK!
“When it was eventually time for Paul to go back to London he said he’d give us a lift back to Liverpool (what a guy!). As we drove along, I can’t tell you the wonderful feeling when we stopped at traffic lights – seeing the look on people’s faces and them do a double-take, realising Paul McCartney was driving. What a perfectly wonderful Boxing Day!”
But that wasn’t their last brush with the Beatle – with a second memorable meeting coming on Boxing Day 1966.
Deirdre said: “A year later I said to my friend that I bet Paul and his family would be in London. So we hitchhiked there!
“We arrived at St John’s Wood and as we approached Paul’s electric gates, his brother, Mike, who we knew quite well from the Liverpool scene, came to put the rubbish out. He looked at us and said ‘Oh my goodness, hello, what are you doing here?’ Lying through our teeth, we said we were visiting relatives in the area so thought we’d drop by.
“He invited us in, and all the family were there, the same as last year – together with Paul’s girlfriend, Jane Asher. Paul asked us what we wanted to drink. We hadn’t a clue what to say so he gave us a sherry!
“We stayed for an hour or so and then said we had to go – we didn’t want to overstay our welcome. Paul gave me his phone number as he knew I was going for an audition at the Italia Conti Stage School the following year. He said that when I was in London to give him a ring and come over.
“My audition date was February 14, 1967. Paul asked me to phone him when I arrived at St John’s Wood tube station so he would know when to expect me, which I did.
“When I arrived, there were hordes of girls by his gate. I walked through the crowd, saying ‘excuse me, excuse me’ and could hear girls say ‘who’s she?’ I pressed the intercom and (Beatles personal assistant) Mal Evans answered. ‘Oh, hello, it’s Deirdre (gulp)’. ‘Oh yes, hang on.’ Phew, It wasn’t a dream! Mal let me in. My fear had turned into a little smugness – I was walking on air!
“Paul was waiting for me. We went into the lounge, and Martha, his gorgeous Old English Sheepdog, was there to greet me too.
“There were armchairs, and a green velvet sofa by the fire – and that’s where we spent a lot of the time, chatting. Paul asked me about drama school and how the audition went.
“Previously, in one of our phone calls, he told me not to be nervous. It obviously did the trick as I later heard I had passed the audition!
“I remember being fascinated as he demonstrated the electronic curtains with a remote control – he was like a kid with a new toy! There was also an en suite which, at the time, was quite a novelty. And there was a framed photo of Jane on the bedside table.
“We went to the top storey, where there was a music room. One wall was filled with LPs, and there was a piano and various guitars around. Paul talked about how he would spend many hours in this room playing and composing. He also played for me again.
“I knew that I had to go at a certain time as I had arranged for my father to pick me up at Lime Street. How I wish I had been assertive enough to ask Paul if I could use his phone. You see, he asked if I wanted to go with him to the studio in the evening (they were recording Sgt. Pepper). That is the biggest regret of my life. I also regret I didn’t bring a camera. I can’t believe it!
“Eventually, Paul changed his phone number and we lost touch.
“I don’t think of Paul as a genius or legend (which he is), I think of him as an ordinary, down-to-earth, decent Scouser (which he is) – just like his father (and his mother). He was brought up to be an honest, polite, friendly, thoughtful, hard-working guy, which is still as apparent today as it was back then.
“Thank you, Mr McCartney and Paul, for your generosity and kindness.”