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The goal of the Tupelo Elvis Presley Fan Club has always been the same – to honor Presley and help grow a new generation of fans.

In 60 years, they’ve done that, to a new generation and beyond. What started in 1956 as “The Elvis Presley Sweethearts” is now a monthly group of music – and Elvis – lovers.
Their efforts for continuing charitable giving, just as Elvis did, were recognized Tuesday at their monthly club meeting at St. James Catholic Church’s Shelton Hall.

“The origin of this club dates back to June 26, 1956, in my aunt’s living room,” said club co-founder Barbara Mallory. “After hearing Elvis records and seeing him at the Belden gym,
my two cousins, two other girls and myself decided to form a fan club. Our main purpose was to, hopefully, have a better chance of meeting him at the 1956 North Mississippi Fair

Mallory said none of them anticipated the stiff competition they’d be up against to meet, touch or even speak to Presley. Sadly, they walked away from the performance

Before they knew it, 49 years had passed.

“We grew up and had families, went to his movies and continued, to this day, being an Elvis fan,” she said.

The fan club was resurrected Sept. 26, 2006, the anniversary of the ’56 concert, with $2,000 in the club’s account. Since reconvening, the group has worked on countless
charitable efforts, all in the name of Elvis, and they show no signs of slowing down past the decade mark, much less the six-decade mark.

“There were about 25 of us,” Mallory said. “We elected officers and began the club again. Our mission would be to honor Elvis’ legacy through charity efforts. We designed our
shirts and increased the annual membership to $10 with a lifetime membership of $100. We quickly discovered we were just barely covering expenses when our membership had
grown to 600.”

Knowing they wanted to continue their charity work, as well as raise funds for the club to operate, club members worked together to release a cookbook, which is now in its third
printing and available at the Birthplace, Tupelo Hardware and Tupelo Automobile Museum.

Beyond that, the famous Tupelo Elvis Mississippi license plates are a product of the fan club as well. Work began on getting the plates available in 2008 and went through a series
of changes until their availability in January 2011.
Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Members of the Tupelo Elvis Presley Fan Club enjoy a dinner and birthday cake to celebrate the club’s 60th anniversary.
Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Members of the Tupelo Elvis Presley Fan Club enjoy a dinner and birthday cake to celebrate the club’s 60th anniversary.

“We have a beautiful tag that represents Elvis’ Birthplace and the 1956 concert,” Mallory said. “I think everyone should know how much hard work and dedication was done to get
this tag, which is the main source of our income and has allowed us to make many charitable gifts. That’s where so much of our funds come from.”

What started with just $2,000 in Sept. 2006 has now grown to benefit Regional Rehab with more than $33,000, the Tupelo Aquatic Center with $52,000, the Elvis Presley Birthplace
with $20,000 and countless other donations toward St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi and Susan G.
Komen Race For the Cure, among others.

“Our club members have worked hard from the beginning and I think we have accomplished many things to be proud of in honoring Elvis by continuing his legacy of charitable
giving,” Mallory said.

September 13, 2016  -  WCBI  /  Elvis Express Radio