About us News Sir Norman Wisdom and YMCA Cheltenham “I was born in very sorry circumstances. Both of my parents were very sorry” Last week we were mentioned by the Gloucestershire Echo concerning Sir Norman Wisdom and our own Peter Worsley click here to read the article. Regrettably, we would like to mention that the photo of Sir Norman was not with the YMCA football team as stated in the article, but the Royal Signals football team instead. Possibly one of Cheltenham’s best-known residents, Sir Norman used to frequent the YMCA café on The Promenade, where he was a member. He could often be seen sipping tea on the ground floor whilst watching the world go by. At the time Sir Norman Wisdom was an unknown entity, having run away from his difficult upbringing in London to enlist in Cheltenham. He also turned his hand to music as a member of the wartime Royal Signals band, buying the saxophone he kept for his entire career here in Cheltenham. When someone turned his music upside-down for a joke, Norman promptly stood on his head and played his saxophone! He also admitted later that he used to regularly siphon the petrol from his Commanding Officer’s car so he could ride his motorbike around town, leaving everyone wondering where he got the fuel from, as during and after WW2 rationing made it difficult to obtain. Cheltenham was so important to him that he returned annually for the Royal Signals Regimental dinner for the next 60 years! You can see a blue plaque commemorating the time he spent in Cheltenham at The Hotel Du Vin on Parabola Rd.