Chamber of Commerce Official Sets Hot Pace

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The Hampton Union And
The Rockingham County Gazette

Thursday, August 1, 1963


"Bill" Elliot's 'dream come true', the new Hampton Beach Sea Shell.
[Photograph by Douglas Armsden, Kittery Point, Maine]

A week ago Sunday {July 21, 1963}, Russell Tobey of the N. H. Division of Recreation stood on the stage of the new Sea Shell and introduced the master of ceremonies for the dedication program of the project as William "Bill" Elliot, "Mr. Hampton Beach."

"Bill" Elliot, better over the years as the "Singing Cop" and more recently as the executive secretary of the Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce has worked towards two goals — (1) to make people happy and (2) to promote Hampton and Hampton Beach. Today, with the exception of his 36 bosses — the directors of the local chamber — few persons realize the daily pace this energetic man sets for himself. His day generally commences between 6 and 7 a.m. and is not completed until somewhere between 10 p.m. and midnight. To follow "Mr. Hampton Beach" for even a day, one needs to be in top physical condition. He stops only for a quick lunch and then is literally off and running again.

Specifically, his present job consists of carrying out the wishes of the chamber directors. One might find "Bill" aiding his staff in processing the thousands of letters which weekly come into the chamber office or selling ads and putting together one of the four major chamber promotional pieces. Or perhaps he's arranging for the daily band concerts or lining up a children's day parade or MCing a talent show or beauty pageant.


"The Singing Cop" - "Bill" Elliot

Or maybe he's answering one of the thousands of complaints which the chamber handles each year and which consumes much of his summer schedule. Perhaps he's working to return lost children -- as many as 21 on a single Sunday -- to their parents. But you won't always find him at the beach. He could be at one of the many legislative hearings he attends in Concord or at chamber, precinct, town, or Municipal Budget committee meetings.

[Photo left: "MR. HAMPTON BEACH", WILLIAM "BILL" ELLIOT, executive secretary of the Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce looks over a dream come true as he views the new Sea Shell facilities. Associated with Hampton Beach for 11 years in various capacities, "Bill" got his start at the beach as the famed "Singing Cop" and has since promoted the beach at every chance possible.]

He's told the story of Hampton Beach and New Hampshire from Canada to Florida and as far west as Cleveland via television, radio, and personal promotional talks. In short, he's on the go not just during the summer, (when it's seven days a week), - but year round.

To quote President Joseph Flynn at a recent Precinct Chamber banquet, "Bill may be summed up as follows: "Every good team needs a good quarterback and I can't be too strong in praise of our chamber's quarterback -- our secretary "Bill" Elliot. "Bill" is the man who sets the pace and Hampton can be proud of his devotion to duty as well as that of his entire staff."

For 41 years Bill has been a part of Hampton Beach. He first sang in a talent show at the beach back in the early 1920's. Later, he. joined the Hampton Police department and became famous as the "Singing Cop." Singing and radio were his life until he lost his singing voice.

His first solo came in a small church at Everett, Mass. at age five. He took up singing in earnest and studied under some of the nation's great teachers. He went on to gain coast-to-coast fame through CBS after gaining prominence on such programs as the Heinz Magazine of the Air and starring in the Major Bowes amateur program in New York City. Portrayed such characters as Nanki-Pooh in the "Mikado" and the Boatswain in the "HMS Pinafore. He has sung in five languages and can speak French, Spanish, German and Italian to some extent.

During his 17 years in radio in New England and New York, he formed the famed "Sunshine Club" which catered to thousands of shut-ins. Since the beginning of the club, he has written hundreds of poems and personally mimeographed and sent thousands of copies to the shut-ins and radio listeners in endeavoring to bring a little "sunshine" into their lives. He still keeps in touch with many of these club members.

Few people realize the thousands of miles he and his-wife, Alzena, have travelled to show love and affection at the homes of these persons less fortunate than they are. He also published a set of his poems called "Everyday Poems" - which sold many copies around New England.

"Mr. Hampton Beach" is a devout Christian and teaches Sunday school locally. He was one of the Boston school districts greatest athletes and at one time held many district and regimental championships in the hurdles and hop-step- and jump events. In state, local and BAA meets, he was defeated only once in the hurdles and that by a man who later became the world's record holder. He was an all-scholastic player as a center fielder in baseball and fullback in football as well as a standout hockey player. He later played several years of semi-pro baseball and football. He was president of his junior class, graduated fifth out of a class of 187 students and became Major General of all Boston School Cadets -- an honor which brought him an appointment to West Point which he turned down.

Locally is vice-chairman of the Municipal Budget committee, has served as school moderator, belongs to and is active in several social and civic groups, has worked with boy scouts and other boys groups and has coached high school sports.

Yet, even in his busy routine today, "Bill" Elliot seldom misses the start of a day with out a visit to his mother who is still hale and hearty at 90 plus years. Perhaps her Biblical philosophy of "Be ye not weary in well doing for in due season ye will reap if ye faint not" has consciously or unconscientiously rubbed off on her son.

Perhaps his whole philosophy of life is best summed up in the final verse of his poem, "Life's Highway" which says:

"It's not the winning, your reaching the crest,
"It's the striving to reach it that makes life the best;
"So keep right on working and forcing a smile,
"And you'll find at its close that life is worthwhile."
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