Pensioner of the year 

It was on the 27th September 1984 that I was awarded the Burnley Express award - 'Golden Years' Pensioner of the Year. The aim ' of the 'Pensioner of the Year' competition, had been to find a person who had inspired and stimulated retired people. I was chosen as winner from twelve finalists, many of whom attended the film show and presentation. The Editor of the Burnley Express, Mr Keith Hall, presented me with a Caithness glass engraved - 'Sam Hanna, Top Pensioner'. 

Pensioner of the Year

I projected a number of films, including the 'Clock Maker'. 

I have recorded the life of my own town and saved for posterity, on film, records of many old English crafts for over fifty years. "The names of the great film makers have a certain ring about them - De Sica, Houston, Korda, de Mills and Sam who ? ... Sam Hanna.' Maybe I will be remembered, I hope my story will reflect that what I have been doing in my life time was done with sincerity. I wished to teach children a bit more about the people around them. In the beginning of my pioneering days there was a certain pooh-poohing by people who should have known better. I conceived the idea that moving pictures might not be a bad idea to help children in their education. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that if I persisted in trying to 'entertain' my pupils in school time, my days of teaching would be numbered, they would find ways of getting rid of me. I did not give in to their threats. 

Now it is common place for films to seen in classroom. 

After spending years on the other side of the camera lens, it took a bit of getting used to fame and television recognition as a fast rising television star ! But, at seventy-five years of age I made my first TV appearance and following Granada's Clapper Board North West I later appeared on BBC a nationwide programs of 'Home Ground'. My latest TV appearance was with Russel Harty. 

TV Days

Sam and Chris Kelly

It was Norman Powell of the Burnley Express who made his tribute in dialect. 

"Sam, pick up thi musket,

And shoulder it with pride,

At last owd lad, tha's bin given thi due,

Though tha's bin sorely tried.

Thar't one of Burnley's characters,

There's noan mony left,, thar't jetting,on a bit,

And e're running out o weft.

But Sam, owd lad, tha's recognised,

Tha's bin on't BBC,

I hope next time I see thi,

That tha will speak to me.


In 1945 my father was surprised when he was called upon to meet King George Vl, now forty-five years later, I was equally surprised and honoured when filming Queen Elizabeth's visit to the Mechanics Institute - to be introduced to Her Majesty. 

Queen Elizabeth II

1986 was a very special year for Edith and I, it was our Diamond Wedding Anniversary; Prince Charles came to Burnley to open the Queen Street Industrial Museum where the lecture theatre had been named after me, Edith was there with me and it was a great honour and pleasure for us both when we met and talked with Prince Charles. 

Being introduced to Prince Charles

  It was the year I received an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society.

 Sadly Edith died in 1987. 

Edith had been my wife, companion and pal. Now there is a great void in my life that cannot be filled. Often I feel lonely and sad. But, without loneliness and sadness there would not have been togetherness and happiness. 

Edith and I shared more than sixty years together, there were times of extreme sorrow and times of great joy. Together we overcame adversities and counted our blessings. 

I remember a time in Switzerland we were enjoying a lovely summer holiday. On a high mountain slope above St Ursanne, we could hear the tinkle of cows bells in the distance. We walked together and looked down into a valley and there below us was a herd of cows being driven back on to the mountain pasture. All around us were mountain peaks, some snow covered, it was a view unparalleled for its mountain scenery. We were happy and content together. There was no need for any words.

"AND, when he as come unto his own town, he taught them in their Council Chamber, insomuch that they were astonished, and said Whence bath this an this wisdom, and these wonderful films ? Is not this the coal miner's son ? is not his mother called Esther Alice a weaver ? and his brother an exile in Dalton-in-Furness?

Whence then bath this man all these things ? And they were offended in him. But Sir Harold Parkinson said unto them, A teacher with vision is not without honour, save in his own county and in his own town.

And even though he offered Burnley his life's work, they hesitated so he offered his film records to those who appreciated his talents."