‘Peter Collins asked me to marry him’

A STOURPORT woman has spoken of her belief that Kidderminster-born racing driver, Peter Collins, visited her in a dream before she found out he had died in a crash earlier the same day.

Pattie Silk, 77, added that, months earlier, Collins, who was killed in 1958, had proposed to her before he moved to France to avoid doing National Service.

She explained: “When I was 26 and still living at home, I had a most vivid dream that Peter kissed my forehead.

“It woke me up and my forehead was damp and ice cold. Going down to breakfast , I told my mother and, without a word, she gave me the morning paper.

“It said Peter Collins had died in a tragic accident the day before. My experience was so significant and it really felt like he had been with me.”

Mrs Silk said she was friends with Collins when they were both in their mid-teens. She explained: “We met through mutual friends and got on very well.

“We went to the Odeon in Worcester one Saturday afternoon, to see James Cagney in White Heat, and went for afternoon tea afterwards.

“He was full of fun and a grand chap.”

Mrs Silk said one lunchtime she was walking up Station Hill, in Kidderminster, when Collins’s car “screeched to a stop” next to her. She went on: “Peter jumped out and really grabbed my arm.

“He said: ‘I have to go and live in France or else I shall have to join the forces to do National Service. That would put a stop to my racing driver training and I can’t do that.’ “He then asked me: ‘Will you become engaged to me and come with me, please?’”

Mrs Silk said: “I was stunned, as we were only friends, nothing more. I think he was so scared of going away on his own that he panicked.”

She said she turned him down, explaining to him that she was studying for a diploma to be a dance teacher and had to stay in Kidderminster.

She added: “After that, he kissed my cheek and off he went. I never saw him again.”

Last Sunday marked the 50th anniversary of Collins’s death in a racing accident at the age of 26.

Comments (6)

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2:02am Sun 10 Aug 08

BD(Mr) says...

09 August 2008
I was very interested to read of Pat Silk's article ref. Peter Collins. This must have been around late 1956. Well it's true - he did marry Louise King - his wife - presumably very shortly after this time, and after reportedly knowing her for only a week in around January 1957. They did live all their married life in Monaco on a yacht in the harbour, so the problem that Peter had with the draft / National Service was obviously very real !

Presumably, this had lessened, later, as he was able to attend the British Grand Prix in 1957 and 1958 (winning it on the latter occasion), sadly only 2 weeks before his death. Louise and Peter had also only just put down a deposit on a town house in Sloane Square in London's West End and presumably were planning to move back permanently to the UK.
Peter Collins was a true hero, and we should all in the Wyre Forest Area remember him ! I did drop a line to your reporter - Adam Burlington (?) is it (?) the week end before last suggesting that The Shuttle should start an on-line Petition ( for people to vote for ),
to erect a permanent Memorial for Peter Collins in Kidderminster.

Again, I would suggest something like a full scale cast bronze model in one of his last Ferrari Dino 246 Grand Prix Racing Cars set on one of the traffic island on Kidderminster's Ring Road. This would simply be an awe-inspiring image. The interest would be enormous !

After all, he is the greatest Sportsman the Kidderminster Area ever produced in the 20th Century. He deserves to be remembered. He is no less than Lewis Hamilton is today, but many kids will not even have heard of Peter Collins !

He should have been World Racing Car Champion in 1956 ( but for giving up his car to his Ferrari team mate - Fangio whose car had a broken track rod arm ), and he would have been Champion almost certainly in 1958, hed he not died, STILL coming 5th in the World Championship after competeing in only something like 6 of the then 10 Races they had. This is quite amazing really !!

Every town has it's hero ! Dudley has it's bronze statue of Duncan Edwards - The Busby Babe from Manchester United FC. The City of Philadelphia has a statue of Sylvester Stallone ! What sort of hero is that ??

Surely this township desreves a permanent Memorial to it's most famous sporting son ? A true hero - who actually died doing what he loved best !

After all, cars would stop along the main road outside Shatterford Grange where Peter originally lived. They would stop, point and take photographs. Remember - there weren't many cars on the main road in those days !

It was though a little bit of |Hollywood had come to Wyre Forest (Kidderminster -then!), for a short period of time !

Between say 1956 and 1958, Peter was undoubtedly a true living legend in his own lifetime, especially locally, and in particular, as your contributor - Eddie Garratt stated - for your Edition ending the week before Peter's Anniversary : "Local people simply idolised him ! "
the week before the Anniversary of his death.

I ask you therefore, once again to start the Online Petition for a Lasting and Permanent Memorial to be erected within Kidderminster Town on behalf of all long term friends, admirers, and neighbours of the late great Peter Collins. A Great Sporting Hero - Never to be forgotten !!
09 August 2008 I was very interested to read of Pat Silk's article ref. Peter Collins. This must have been around late 1956. Well it's true - he did marry Louise King - his wife - presumably very shortly after this time, and after reportedly knowing her for only a week in around January 1957. They did live all their married life in Monaco on a yacht in the harbour, so the problem that Peter had with the draft / National Service was obviously very real ! Presumably, this had lessened, later, as he was able to attend the British Grand Prix in 1957 and 1958 (winning it on the latter occasion), sadly only 2 weeks before his death. Louise and Peter had also only just put down a deposit on a town house in Sloane Square in London's West End and presumably were planning to move back permanently to the UK. Peter Collins was a true hero, and we should all in the Wyre Forest Area remember him ! I did drop a line to your reporter - Adam Burlington (?) is it (?) the week end before last suggesting that The Shuttle should start an on-line Petition ( for people to vote for ), to erect a permanent Memorial for Peter Collins in Kidderminster. Again, I would suggest something like a full scale cast bronze model in one of his last Ferrari Dino 246 Grand Prix Racing Cars set on one of the traffic island on Kidderminster's Ring Road. This would simply be an awe-inspiring image. The interest would be enormous ! After all, he is the greatest Sportsman the Kidderminster Area ever produced in the 20th Century. He deserves to be remembered. He is no less than Lewis Hamilton is today, but many kids will not even have heard of Peter Collins ! He should have been World Racing Car Champion in 1956 ( but for giving up his car to his Ferrari team mate - Fangio whose car had a broken track rod arm ), and he would have been Champion almost certainly in 1958, hed he not died, STILL coming 5th in the World Championship after competeing in only something like 6 of the then 10 Races they had. This is quite amazing really !! Every town has it's hero ! Dudley has it's bronze statue of Duncan Edwards - The Busby Babe from Manchester United FC. The City of Philadelphia has a statue of Sylvester Stallone ! What sort of hero is that ?? Surely this township desreves a permanent Memorial to it's most famous sporting son ? A true hero - who actually died doing what he loved best ! After all, cars would stop along the main road outside Shatterford Grange where Peter originally lived. They would stop, point and take photographs. Remember - there weren't many cars on the main road in those days ! It was though a little bit of |Hollywood had come to Wyre Forest (Kidderminster -then!), for a short period of time ! Between say 1956 and 1958, Peter was undoubtedly a true living legend in his own lifetime, especially locally, and in particular, as your contributor - Eddie Garratt stated - for your Edition ending the week before Peter's Anniversary : "Local people simply idolised him ! " the week before the Anniversary of his death. I ask you therefore, once again to start the Online Petition for a Lasting and Permanent Memorial to be erected within Kidderminster Town on behalf of all long term friends, admirers, and neighbours of the late great Peter Collins. A Great Sporting Hero - Never to be forgotten !! BD(Mr)

3:37pm Mon 11 Aug 08

Peter Shimmell says...

Being the publisher of a new book entitled "PETER COLLINS ALL ABOUT THE BOY". I thought the people of Kidderminster would be interested in the first full biography of him.

This has been done with the full cooperation of Louise King, peters widow. The book is being launched this weekend at Shelsley Walsh where a big celerbration of Peters life etc is being held.

Louise King is coming over from the US to be guest of honour at the event.

The Publishers Mercian Manuals Ltd will have a marquee where Louise will be on hand to talk to people and sign copies of the book which will on sale.

Any interested parties should ask for Peter Shimmell or even after the event call on Tel No 01676 533304 during business hours.

Thank for taking the time to read my news.
Peter Shimmell

high poor
Being the publisher of a new book entitled "PETER COLLINS ALL ABOUT THE BOY". I thought the people of Kidderminster would be interested in the first full biography of him. This has been done with the full cooperation of Louise King, peters widow. The book is being launched this weekend at Shelsley Walsh where a big celerbration of Peters life etc is being held. Louise King is coming over from the US to be guest of honour at the event. The Publishers Mercian Manuals Ltd will have a marquee where Louise will be on hand to talk to people and sign copies of the book which will on sale. Any interested parties should ask for Peter Shimmell or even after the event call on Tel No 01676 533304 during business hours. Thank for taking the time to read my news. Peter Shimmell high poor Peter Shimmell

3:52pm Mon 18 Aug 08

edmcd says...

Readers:

I was interested in your reader's comments. I have to say I have my doubts about P.Silks claims about Peter Collins. There was no question that he hurried off to France to avoid national service in the way it is employed. He was on an apprenticeship scheme, and as part of this later worked at the Aston martin showr rooms in Paris. At the age of 18, he was highly unlikely to have asked anyone to marry him...not with the female following he had.

Mr BD also has his dates wrong as the move to France happened several years before 1956. He met Louise in 1956, though neither Peter nor Louise remembered that. They met again in Feb. 1957, and 2 days later he asked Louise to marry him.

Mr. BD also has it wrong about purchasing a place in Sloan Square. In fact, Peter and Louise had put a deposit on Honeybrook House near Shatterford just before Peter was killed.This deposit was returned to Louise, and she lived in a rented flat in Sloan Square for some time before returning to the USA.

It was wonderful to have her at Shelsley Walsh this last weekend. Indeed, if a memorial should ever be done for Peter it should be of his first Cooper which he campaigned at Shelsley and other Midlands venues...this car was there this weekend.

Ed McDonough
Author of...Peter Collins - All About The Boy
Readers: I was interested in your reader's comments. I have to say I have my doubts about P.Silks claims about Peter Collins. There was no question that he hurried off to France to avoid national service in the way it is employed. He was on an apprenticeship scheme, and as part of this later worked at the Aston martin showr rooms in Paris. At the age of 18, he was highly unlikely to have asked anyone to marry him...not with the female following he had. Mr BD also has his dates wrong as the move to France happened several years before 1956. He met Louise in 1956, though neither Peter nor Louise remembered that. They met again in Feb. 1957, and 2 days later he asked Louise to marry him. Mr. BD also has it wrong about purchasing a place in Sloan Square. In fact, Peter and Louise had put a deposit on Honeybrook House near Shatterford just before Peter was killed.This deposit was returned to Louise, and she lived in a rented flat in Sloan Square for some time before returning to the USA. It was wonderful to have her at Shelsley Walsh this last weekend. Indeed, if a memorial should ever be done for Peter it should be of his first Cooper which he campaigned at Shelsley and other Midlands venues...this car was there this weekend. Ed McDonough Author of...Peter Collins - All About The Boy edmcd

3:51am Wed 20 Aug 08

BD(Mr) says...

20 August 2008

Ed Mc Donough's comments about Pattie Silk's comments regarding Peter seem pretty unfair to me !!

There's nothing in Pattie Silk's column that mentions that she was only 18 years old when Peter proposed to her.

As a strictly 3rd party observer I definitely got the impression that Pattie's last stated meeting with Peter on Station Hill (presumably now Comberton Hill), Kidderminster, was years after their original meeting as teenagers,was presumably in around 1956 NOT 1949 (when Peter was 18 years old, but in fact 25 years old, 7 years later!!) Their last meeting reads as though it was shortly before Peter moved permanently abroad, presumably sometime in 1956.

Perhaps Pattie Silk would like to contact this column again and let everyone know what year it was she last saw Peter Collins on Station Hill ?? I'd certainly like to know !!

Pattie said she was 26 years at the time. She said she is 77 now. I would have presumed that Peter would have been around 25 years old in 1956
at the time she said his last meeting with Pattie presumably occurred ??

Our obvious thanks to Ed McDonough for the greater enlightenment he has thrown on some "greyer areas" of factual information surrounding the historical facts surrounding Peter Collins' life.

Ed, of ourse, has had the great advantage of being able to collaborate direct with Louise - Peter's Widow - on detailed factual information which would have been unavailable to other parties.

As a result of this I am sure that
his forthcoming book will be of great interest to all friends, fans, neighbours, and admirers of Peter Collins that there have been over the years. I, for one, certainly look forward to reading a copy of the book.

Our Thanks also to Ed for clarifying the factual information regarding the properties Peter and Louise were involved with during the their time together. Honeybrook House is a substantial property which has been a Nursing Home now for some years, but it IS NOT AT SHATTERFORD (as Ed McDonough states), BUT AT FRANCHE, KIDDERMINSTER !!

SLOANE Square in London is also spelt with an "E" !! Has Ed been there ?? I wouldn't know, but I guess not ???

Nothing, though, should detract from the enormity of Peter Collins memory ! I have not personally had the opportunity of discussing his life, with his widow, as Ed has had, for which I do envy him, though, equally I have not sought to do so, though I would like very much to do
so.


To people like myself, Peter Collins was almost like an "unseen" member of the family, though we had only seen him occasionally and largely, remotely, despite his having lived all my life, within 1-2 miles of Shatterford Grange (where he and his family lived in the '50's) both before and after his death. I suppose, it's a little like having lived just down the road from the family of someone like Buddy Holly (also dead now some 50 years) but without having he music to remember him by !! Peter has of course just left us a few still films and even less movie clips by which we still remember him !!


People constantly spoke of him in the 1950's, admired him, and revered him !! He was that special !!

It's hard to recall the sadness that seemed to encompass everyone at the time of his death in August 2008, with horrific newspaper sports page headline pictures of his car at the Nurburg Ring flying through the air upside down at 45 degrees to the horizontal accompanied by by equally horrendous printed headlines stating that " they couldn't save Peter's Life because they couldn't get his helmet off!!", although he'd hit a tree apparently at 100 mph !! He had had no chance really, it seemed !

It had just been a year or so earlier that Peter's then '"wild young sister - Pat " had crashed her little blue sports car (I think it was) into my late mother's Hillman Minx Convertible in Marlpool Lane in Kidderminster - then a quiet suburban road of of pre-war houses and allotments, but now of course, much busier !!

At that time, needless to say, nobody cared about the damage to the cars !! It was an entirely celbrity incident !!



He is or was remembered in local drinking haunts around Shatterford and Bewdley as the legend he was !! This includes places like the Bellmans Cross at Shatterford (where there are still still some photographs of him in the Dining Room); the Black Boy Hotel at Bewdley, and the now long forgotten Park Attwood Hotel and Country Club at Trimpley (just 1/2 mile form Shatterford where he lived) which in the 1950's was the only "serious Night Spot" west of Birmingham !! At that time, celebrities would leave autographed photgraphs of themselves on the "Welcome Board" there. The last time I can recall looking it over in the 1960's, I remember placing (in importance)Peter's autographed photograph, second only "in celebrity terms" to that of the adjoining autographed photograph of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton who had only recently stayed there !!!

Peter was and is still the most famous sporting hero ever to hav come fom the Kidderminster Area.
I do hope that some form of lasting Memorial will eventually be erected in his honour !!

Remember - Evereyone who knows his name - this is the time to push for it!!

PS I'd like to hear or speak further to Pattie Silk or Ed McDonough. You can contact me by email on "bonnerandpartners@y
ahoo.com" or call me on 07943 362339.

Signed

BD (Mr)




















20 August 2008 Ed Mc Donough's comments about Pattie Silk's comments regarding Peter seem pretty unfair to me !! There's nothing in Pattie Silk's column that mentions that she was only 18 years old when Peter proposed to her. As a strictly 3rd party observer I definitely got the impression that Pattie's last stated meeting with Peter on Station Hill (presumably now Comberton Hill), Kidderminster, was years after their original meeting as teenagers,was presumably in around 1956 NOT 1949 (when Peter was 18 years old, but in fact 25 years old, 7 years later!!) Their last meeting reads as though it was shortly before Peter moved permanently abroad, presumably sometime in 1956. Perhaps Pattie Silk would like to contact this column again and let everyone know what year it was she last saw Peter Collins on Station Hill ?? I'd certainly like to know !! Pattie said she was 26 years at the time. She said she is 77 now. I would have presumed that Peter would have been around 25 years old in 1956 at the time she said his last meeting with Pattie presumably occurred ?? Our obvious thanks to Ed McDonough for the greater enlightenment he has thrown on some "greyer areas" of factual information surrounding the historical facts surrounding Peter Collins' life. Ed, of ourse, has had the great advantage of being able to collaborate direct with Louise - Peter's Widow - on detailed factual information which would have been unavailable to other parties. As a result of this I am sure that his forthcoming book will be of great interest to all friends, fans, neighbours, and admirers of Peter Collins that there have been over the years. I, for one, certainly look forward to reading a copy of the book. Our Thanks also to Ed for clarifying the factual information regarding the properties Peter and Louise were involved with during the their time together. Honeybrook House is a substantial property which has been a Nursing Home now for some years, but it IS NOT AT SHATTERFORD (as Ed McDonough states), BUT AT FRANCHE, KIDDERMINSTER !! SLOANE Square in London is also spelt with an "E" !! Has Ed been there ?? I wouldn't know, but I guess not ??? Nothing, though, should detract from the enormity of Peter Collins memory ! I have not personally had the opportunity of discussing his life, with his widow, as Ed has had, for which I do envy him, though, equally I have not sought to do so, though I would like very much to do so. To people like myself, Peter Collins was almost like an "unseen" member of the family, though we had only seen him occasionally and largely, remotely, despite his having lived all my life, within 1-2 miles of Shatterford Grange (where he and his family lived in the '50's) both before and after his death. I suppose, it's a little like having lived just down the road from the family of someone like Buddy Holly (also dead now some 50 years) but without having he music to remember him by !! Peter has of course just left us a few still films and even less movie clips by which we still remember him !! People constantly spoke of him in the 1950's, admired him, and revered him !! He was that special !! It's hard to recall the sadness that seemed to encompass everyone at the time of his death in August 2008, with horrific newspaper sports page headline pictures of his car at the Nurburg Ring flying through the air upside down at 45 degrees to the horizontal accompanied by by equally horrendous printed headlines stating that " they couldn't save Peter's Life because they couldn't get his helmet off!!", although he'd hit a tree apparently at 100 mph !! He had had no chance really, it seemed ! It had just been a year or so earlier that Peter's then '"wild young sister - Pat " had crashed her little blue sports car (I think it was) into my late mother's Hillman Minx Convertible in Marlpool Lane in Kidderminster - then a quiet suburban road of of pre-war houses and allotments, but now of course, much busier !! At that time, needless to say, nobody cared about the damage to the cars !! It was an entirely celbrity incident !! He is or was remembered in local drinking haunts around Shatterford and Bewdley as the legend he was !! This includes places like the Bellmans Cross at Shatterford (where there are still still some photographs of him in the Dining Room); the Black Boy Hotel at Bewdley, and the now long forgotten Park Attwood Hotel and Country Club at Trimpley (just 1/2 mile form Shatterford where he lived) which in the 1950's was the only "serious Night Spot" west of Birmingham !! At that time, celebrities would leave autographed photgraphs of themselves on the "Welcome Board" there. The last time I can recall looking it over in the 1960's, I remember placing (in importance)Peter's autographed photograph, second only "in celebrity terms" to that of the adjoining autographed photograph of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton who had only recently stayed there !!! Peter was and is still the most famous sporting hero ever to hav come fom the Kidderminster Area. I do hope that some form of lasting Memorial will eventually be erected in his honour !! Remember - Evereyone who knows his name - this is the time to push for it!! PS I'd like to hear or speak further to Pattie Silk or Ed McDonough. You can contact me by email on "bonnerandpartners@y ahoo.com" or call me on 07943 362339. Signed BD (Mr) BD(Mr)

4:43pm Wed 20 Aug 08

edmcd says...

Mr. BD:
I am very happy to see Mr. BD's enthusiasm for Peter Collins...much deserved.

By 1956, if that is when Ms. Silk had a proposal from PC, Peter Collins had already lived in Europe for some time, and by this time did not need to 'avoid' national service. Peter was working and based in Paris from 1952, so he certainly would not have been suddenly leaving the UK in 1956!

Thanks for pointing out my spelling error, but Honeybrooke House is indeed near Shatterford...just up the road in fact. I stopped by the other day just to confirm how close it was to Shatterford Grange.

The new book was launched at Shelsley Walsh at the weekend. As Louise Collins was there, and a great hit, it is too bad if Mr. BD didn't manage to get there.

Ed McDonough
Mr. BD: I am very happy to see Mr. BD's enthusiasm for Peter Collins...much deserved. By 1956, if that is when Ms. Silk had a proposal from PC, Peter Collins had already lived in Europe for some time, and by this time did not need to 'avoid' national service. Peter was working and based in Paris from 1952, so he certainly would not have been suddenly leaving the UK in 1956! Thanks for pointing out my spelling error, but Honeybrooke House is indeed near Shatterford...just up the road in fact. I stopped by the other day just to confirm how close it was to Shatterford Grange. The new book was launched at Shelsley Walsh at the weekend. As Louise Collins was there, and a great hit, it is too bad if Mr. BD didn't manage to get there. Ed McDonough edmcd

12:31am Thu 21 Aug 08

BD(Mr) says...

20 August 2008

Memo to Ed Mc Donough

I read your last entry as of this afternoon 20 August 2008.

Sorry I couldn't meet you all at Shelsley Walsh last week-end, there were a number of reasons why.... too numerous to detail here !!

Very best of luck with the book !! Hope the sales go well !! I'll certainly buy a copy !!

Do you have an email address for Louise please that you could pass on ? I'd very much like to make contact with her.

I'm hoping she might support a petition to erect a permanent Memorial somewhere around the Kidderminister Area. !!

But the Local Authority here are an extremely stodgy bunch !! I think we might need some special signatures on any petition ??? People like Stirling Moss for instance, and some current people with serious clout in the racing world...even Murray Walker for instance !!! Or other more current names... !!!

By the way, did he tell you what he felt about (last week-end) being played (as himself) by Bruce Willis in the forthcoming film about Michael Schuemacher's life story ?? Strange ? I would have thought !!!

Or you could pass on my email address to Louise - my name is Bob.
My email address is "bonnerandpartners@y
ahoo.com".

Best Wishes to all who knew Peter Collins

BD (Mr) Upper Arley(just down the lane from Shatterford Grange).

20 August 2008 Memo to Ed Mc Donough I read your last entry as of this afternoon 20 August 2008. Sorry I couldn't meet you all at Shelsley Walsh last week-end, there were a number of reasons why.... too numerous to detail here !! Very best of luck with the book !! Hope the sales go well !! I'll certainly buy a copy !! Do you have an email address for Louise please that you could pass on ? I'd very much like to make contact with her. I'm hoping she might support a petition to erect a permanent Memorial somewhere around the Kidderminister Area. !! But the Local Authority here are an extremely stodgy bunch !! I think we might need some special signatures on any petition ??? People like Stirling Moss for instance, and some current people with serious clout in the racing world...even Murray Walker for instance !!! Or other more current names... !!! By the way, did he tell you what he felt about (last week-end) being played (as himself) by Bruce Willis in the forthcoming film about Michael Schuemacher's life story ?? Strange ? I would have thought !!! Or you could pass on my email address to Louise - my name is Bob. My email address is "bonnerandpartners@y ahoo.com". Best Wishes to all who knew Peter Collins BD (Mr) Upper Arley(just down the lane from Shatterford Grange). BD(Mr)
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