Father's Fan Fare (FFF)

Sally Newman Coordinator of FFF


Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests in general?

That's a big question; it's hard to summarise oneself in general. I had do to with fandom and met so many wonderful people, but I don't think I was the "normal" fan. I'm interested in many things, including wonderful friends, gardening, and the sewing arts, design work, maybe starting a new business.

Did the series Beauty and the Beast have an impact on your life? In what way?

Yes. Certainly it did have an impact, and in many ways which are difficult to describe. Most important was meeting lifelong friends and being witness to the good in so many people.


We understand that you are the coordinator of a group called "Fathers Fan Fare".

Yes, I started FFF in 1990 I think - shortly after the first convention in 1990.


Could you tell us what it is and where the idea came from?

The Beauty and the Beast Quilt, and the Friendship Quilt that followed, celebrated the show, its creators and the bonds that had been made, and continued to be made, among so many people all over the world. The Friendship Quilt, in particular, was a testimony to those friendships. I thought that after presenting The Beauty and the Beast quilt, that I would never see it again, and wanted to honour all the people who had helped make the first quilt in so many ways - through encouragement, time, work, etc.

I think my husband suggested that I do a quilt to witness the friendships that had been formed, and I was very interested in keeping the good will and works going. I had never belonged to or known what a "fandom" was and thought it might all just dissolve away. So we made the Friendship Quilt to go out to those who might need encouragement.

There were too many people who needed/deserved the loan of the quilt. FFF was born so that as many people as possible could be, and stay, connected. People who loved or were connected with the show would write me when times were difficult, and I would let fans around the world know. We also were there to shout encouragement and congratulations for successes & happy times. There were helpers around the world who would send encouragement or praise to those on the list. Sometimes, a friend would nominate someone for the FFF list, and that someone might receive 50 or so notes & cards from friends they didn't even know they had yet. And, like the tunnels, I don't know who benefited most, those sending the notes or those receiving. Sometimes you swam troubled waters, and watched from the banks out for those swimming.  


Section of the Quilt

Finished Beauty and the Beast Quilt


How did you come up with the name Father's Fan Fare?

It mostly originated with an appropriate play on words. It was about the fans of the show and how they were faring and it was a fanfare to them. "Father" watched out for those in the tunnels, and Dotrice kept up with many fans, so that part of it was to honour him and be alliterative as well.


Were you one of the original organizers? Who else was involved?

I guess I was the originator - just thought of the idea and did it, but, of course, enlisted the help of fans from all over the world to help, so that hundreds of fans became involved. I had a database of over 1000 helpers. Some people would help by forming groups which would have meetings/parties which would write notes as part of their meeting. It was a happy thing.


What was the purpose of the organization at its inception, and has it changed over the years?

The purpose has not changed, although sometimes it involves people who were not original fans of the show. The active people have lessened greatly as the years have passed. Part of that was the toll of time, and part of it as my fault. I went through some very difficult years in which it was almost impossible for me to keep up. I went though a divorce which almost ended me and then lost most of my family, so, frankly, I was having a difficult time keeping my emotional head above water and did not have the energy or time for much of anything. For two years straight, for example, I had 3 (different) people in my immediate family on Hospice.


FFF is one of the oldest fan outreach efforts. When and how did it all begin?

See above answer. I believe FFF is the oldest fan outreach effort. In fact, the recipient of another "outreach" effort was first the beneficiary of FFF, but she didn't know for years why or where all the notes came from until I met her at a convention. She then decided to start her own group. I think one of the nicest things about FFF, is that often the recipient of the notes doesn't know where the good thoughts, etc. are coming from, so they have to imagine they are coming from possibly everyone and everywhere. I think that's neat. Then, when or if someone who was helped later meets and finds out that someone was a helper, it's all the more dear.


Tell us briefly how FFF has helped others?

I think this would take a book. I've been told that it's stopped suicides and given some comfort and cheer and everything in between. It's helped due to every fan's efforts to keep us as family - at least in heart.


What do members of FFF do?

All one has to do to become a member is express a desire to become a member. That means they can help others in any way they see as possible. If they live near them, they can visit & help where/when help is needed. They can call with encouragement. Mostly they write notes & cards of support to those on the list. Sometimes they send money for stamps or the actual stamps or cards for us to send. The original "pledge" for writing, was to send at least one card a month. I have a form to fill out which indicates how someone might like to volunteer help.


How many members do you have and how can others learn about FFF?

I do not know how many people are members. I'm not sure people learn about FFF much any more, since I haven't been going to conventions. It's just now with ongoing contact with friends/fans. I guess YOUR efforts and interest may help others learn.


Is FFF strictly a BATB outreach program or are non-fans involved?

There are now non-fans involved although there are often "conversions" to the show.


If someone wanted to join FFF, how would they do so?

All they have to do is express a willingness to help others & keep in contact.


Is FFF just for people online?

At first almost all the FFF contact was "snail mail". Now it is the opposite, although snail mail notes are most often sent. However, with the prices of mail going up so much, information about people to be helped or congratulated is almost all through email or phone. For some time I joked that only the immediate world had my address and phone number.


Do you have, or are you planning to have, a group online?

I had a group online, but it was not exclusively so. I'm sure I should make FFF more of a formal and useful group. We'll see if there is any interest in that if you like.


Does FFF have a website and if not, will there be one in the future?

We do not have a website - only my address. There are some protective measures regarding giving out addresses of people - snail mail or e-mail. I'm not sure if the safeguards could be kept with a website. Also, I would need technical help to build one if that were feasible. I am very slow at learning about that aspect of the web - building a site.


Why is FFF important to you?

FFF is important to me because you (fans & friends) are important. That is the only importance of FFF. When we help each other, all benefit. You all have given more meaning, satisfaction, and fun to my life than most anything else. I am forever grateful. We do have a lot of fun.


How long do you see yourself working with FFF?

If there is any interest and or encouragement, I'll probably be involved, so it depends on whether there is interest or not. Since a setback earlier, I have not had as much energy as I once had.


Could you tell us what prompted you to make the quilt?

See above. It was that love of the show and wanting to thank the people involved with it because it had given us so much.


Sally working on the quilt

Were you the person who initiated and coordinated the making of it?

Yes, I was talking to the first fan I ever met, Kathryn O'Meara, and said something about wanting to do something for the show and the connection with the fans, like a quilt. Katherine encouraged me; without her, I would never have done anything.


Who was involved?

The names of the people involved were preserved on the quilts themselves. I sent out a call for help with a B&TB quilt, and got great response. Then the Friendship B&TB quilt celebrated the friendships formed as the B&TB quilt had celebrated the show.


How was it made?

By many hands and fabric donations from all over the world. We sewed our souls into the quilts.


How big was the finished quilt?

The B&TB quilt is 9 feet square.


Where is the quilt now?

Ron Koslow asked that I act as custodian of the quilt when it was presented to him on behalf of everybody, and wished that as many people as possible could enjoy it. I now have it with me at home. It has been publicised some - for example an article in "Quilters' Newsletter Magazine" but the Friendship Quilt gets out more.

  Friendship Quilt

Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers about yourself, BATB or Father's Fan Fare?

I'd like to express my continuing thanks to them and all they do for me and others, and I'd like to wish them encouragement, health, and happiness.


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