Cavern City Tours owners honoured by Liverpool
Cavern City Tours owners Bill Heckle and Dave Jones are to be honoured By Liverpool City Council as Citizens of Honour.
After two years of waiting Bill and Dave will receive their honours. Cavern City Tours Directors and Cavern Club owners, Bill Heckle and Dave Jones, who established Beatles tourism in the city, bought and reinvigorated The Cavern Club, created the Mathew Street Music Festival, came up with the concept for the Hard Days Night Hotel and commissioned a hugely popular statue of The Beatles on the Pier Head are receiving Citizen of Honour awards, at a special ceremony at Liverpool Town Hall.
Bill (a former teacher) trained to be a Beatle guide in 1982 and after forming the company in 1983 was joined by Dave in 1986 when they organised their first Beatles Convention.
1991 proved a landmark year for the dynamic duo as they acquired both The Magical Mystery Tour and – critically – The Cavern Club the fortunes of which they would dramatically transform from a closed building into a major live music venue and hugely popular tourist attraction.
Their Beatles Convention also quickly developed at this time and in 1993 evolved into the Mathew Street Music Festival, which in just a few short years became Europe’s largest annual free event of its kind, attracting more than 100 live acts and 300,000 people to the city every August Bank Holiday weekend.
One of their greatest and proudest achievements was to organise the Hillsborough Justice Concert at Anfield stadium, in 1997, which helped to raise more than £500,000. This vital sum was used to pay for the legal costs for the families in their pursuit of the truth into the 1989 football disaster.
Mayor of Liverpool said, “Our tourism industry would not be as strong and successful as it is now if Bill Heckle and Dave Jones would not have had the vision to recognise the potential of the city’s unrivalled musical heritage in attracting visitors to our city.”
Dave Jones said: “When Bill Heckle and I first started working together in1983 our aims and objectives were simply based on our belief and passion in Liverpool. We set out to promote the city’s unique music heritage and introduce, the media, the tourism industry and visitors to the spirit of Liverpool, enhance their experience and give them something no other city in the world could.
“Our success over the past 35 years has been driven by vision and taking every opportunity we have been given to develop Liverpool’s Beatles industry
“We never set out to receive awards and accolades. To be nominated for Citizen of Honour awards is amazing. We feel a huge sense of pride and emotion that our work has received this level of recognition.”